Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy announced on Wednesday that she will be leaving her post, two years after she was appointed in 2019.
Annies will be taking a leave of absence from Thursday to join her husband Stephen Mani, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer posted recently as the first secretary to the Indian Embassy in Washington DC in USA. "I have had a successful two-year tenure in Kodagu as Deputy Commissioner. Thank you everyone for the support and warmth provided. The beautiful memories in Kodagu will be cherished forever," she said in a statement.
Speaking to TNM, "I made the request for a break. I am leaving to spend time with my family and my daughter Apoorva," Annies Joy said. She said that she will be returning to service later this year in a new role.
Annies took charge as DC of Kodagu in 2019 and was at the helm of the district during the 2019 floods and landslides. It was a year after the devastating floods and landslides in the hilly district in 2018.
In the months leading up to the monsoon, extensive preparations were taken up and district authorities worked with geologists to survey the areas affected. But their preparations were thrown out of gear when landslides struck in southern Kodagu, an area that was not heavily affected in 2018
A landslide in Thora village left 10 residents of the village dead and Annies Joy along with the then Superintendent of Police Suman D Penneker and the then Zilla Panchayat CEO Lakshmi Priya were praised for their response on-ground. The trio regularly made the journey to the landslide affected area in Thora, trudging through the slushy mud, to coordinate the search operations for the missing persons.
"The residents of Kodagu remember the officers were coming to the landslide area in our village and speaking to Prabhu Kumar, a local who lost his family in the landslide," Vijay, a resident of Thora told TNM.
In 2020, Annies was criticised for an FIR against journalists from the Cauvery Times for two articles which criticised the DC. An official in the DC office filed a police complaint against Vasanth, a reporter, and the editor of Cauvery Times, a Kannada paper.
The articles, published in May and June 2020, criticised the district officials' handling of the post-lockdown rules of designated red and green zones. It also alleged through an anonymous letter that the DC and the then SP of the district were misusing disaster relief funds.
Prior to this, Annies Joy moved quickly to shut down tourist spots in Kodagu in March 2020 before the national lockdown was announced. Residents in the district said that her background in nursing studies helped during the early days of the lockdown.
Annies completed her nursing studies at the medical college in Thiruvananthapuram in 2009 before writing the IAS exam in 2012. Before her posting as Kodagu DC, Annies worked as the Assistant Commissioner of Bidar, worked at the Karnaataka Bhavan and as the CEO, ZP of Tumakuru.