Shri. Gyanesh Kumar, IAS,
District Collector of Ernakulam District
One of the key figures in the Cochin administration is the district collector of Ernakulam. Shri. Gyanesh Kumar, a senior IAS officer, has been serving for a couple of years now in this office. One of his most visible achievements thus far has been the renovation of Cochin’s waterfront area. Thanks in no small part to Gyanesh Kumar, hundreds of people desiring to enjoy morning walks and evening strolls are regularly attracted to the waterfront’s new main avenue. He has been very supportive of Amritavarsham50.
What measures have you taken to prepare for Amritavarsham50?
“With this big event happening in Kochi, we must take measures at different levels. Even though it is a birthday celebration, there are lakhs of people coming and many VVIPs, so the government will have to come prepared. First, there is the contingency planning, which has to do with the movement of large crowds and the facilities needed for that. Secondly, we have an important role in coordinating the various departments that are involved. Then there is the Road Department, the Health Department, the Cleaning Department, Water Supply, the Fire Force, etc. All these have to work together. And finally, we must, of course, be prepared for any emerging problems.”Many departments are involved. The festival organisation will serve nearly one million meals, so we have to support them to serve good and safe food. The organisation itself will clean up the area after the festival, but the waste has to go somewhere, so we have to be ready for that. For the health department, we have 100 ambulances on call and 30 major hospitals are standing by.”
Does the city of Cochin support this religious event?
“The President, who will come, is a Muslim, the Chief Minister is a Christian. This is not a Hindu festival. Mata Amritanandamayi has a big following among Christians and Muslims as well. They get inspiration from Her message of love.”
How is Amma perceived in Kerala?
“She is seen here as a transcendental leader. She talks about spirituality; in that sense, She is not a religious leader. Spirituality and religion are linked nowadays. The problem arises when people mix up the two. And among the spiritual figures, Amma with Her worldwide following is a class apart.”
How do think this event will benefit your district?
“As a government, we have no expectations. But the fact that Amma comes from Kerala—we should take pride in that. And also since the President is coming and having a detailed meet with business leaders and CEOs, there is importance there. There is the PURA-plan to stimulate the development in rural areas. We are very interested in that.”
Do you see this event as something special?
“If this would be organised by somebody else, we would give the same support. But there are gaps between what the government can do and what the needs of the people are. These gaps should be picked up by private initiative or NGOs [Non-Governmental Organisations]. And the M.A. Math is a very powerful NGO. But the degree of expectation is very critical. It takes a professional and committed approach. The M.A. Math is such a professional and committed organisation. So we are happy to work with them.”
Have you met Amma?
“Yes, one time.”
And how did it feel?
“It felt very good.”