THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid the tussle between him and the employees union, Dr B Ashok has been removed as the KSEB chairman. Dr Rajan N Khobragade, who was recently made water resources secretary, will be the new chairman. Ashok has been appointed as Agriculture secretary.
Ashok was removed amid allegations of not implementing the agreement with the trade unions to end the stalemate in the Kerala State Electricity Board. His removal as KSEB chairman has come on the eve of his first anniversary as CMD of the KSEB. There are reports that at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday it was Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan who proposed to remove him.
Ever since Ashok and the trade unions including the KSEB Officers' Association were at loggerheads against each other, there was pressure on the LDF Government to remove Ashok. But he enjoyed the wholehearted support of the power minister K Krishnankutty.
The KSEBOA were the most peeved as their office bearers were not reinstated in their previous positions. KSEBOA president M G Suresh Kumar, general secretary B Harikumar and central executive committee member A Jasmine Banu were transferred earlier and they joined their new roles. Trade unions including the CITU were peeved with Ashok as he had given charge sheets to those officials who took part in the KSEB strike.
Ashok belongs to the 1998 batch of IAS while Rajan N Khobragade is a 1993 batch officer. Ashok had previously served as the Vice Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Agricultural University.
Rajan N Khobragade had put in meritorious service as health secretary under former health minister K K Shailaja during the pandemic. Rumours were rife that he was not going well with incumbent health minister Veena George. Recently the government appointed him as water resources secretary following which he went on long leave.