By Ram Kumar Kaushik
While he got appreciation for his efforts in obtaining National Medical Commission affiliation to start MBBS course and fully operationalise the Government Medical College in Idukki district during his tenure as deputy development commissioner, Pandian, a sports enthusiast, hit the headlines for scaling the Mount Elbrus , the highest peak of Europe and one of the seven summits, located in southern Russia in caucasus mountain ranges.
It took him 5 days from 23-27 July to climb 5,942 metre high peak. The feat was achieved by the five member team of which Pandian was a part along with three Russians and one Bangladeshi mountaineer. They camped twice at 3,000 metres and 3,800 metres before reaching the peak.
This is the second expedition for Pandian this year. Earlier in the month of February, he became the first IAS officer to scale Mount Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It was also a five-day expedition to reach Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro's summit 5,895 metres above sea level, in Tanzania on February 23. He chose the picturesque trail from Machame Gate (1,800 m), one of the six routes leading to the peak.
The 33-years old IAS is working as joint commissioner of land revenue, secretary land board and director of youth leadership academy with Kerala government.
Hailing from a humble background, son of plantation workers, Pandian has surmounted many difficulties in life to reach this stage. Perhaps he draws energy from struggles he had faced all through his journey to become an IAS. His interest in mountaineering developed during his Civil Services' training during which his batch had undertaken a 10-day trek to Roopkund in Uttarakhand.
Like any other climber, he has also not been successful every time. He attempted to climb Mount Nun, a 7,135-m summit bordering Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in September last year. But he had to retreat after reaching the height of 6,129 m in 14 days climb in a 21 day expedition.
Aims to climb Mount Everest
Pandian's ultimate aim is to climb amount Everest. As a precursor to it, he had already climbed 5,760 metres Mount Draupadi Ka Danda – which is just 65% of 8,849 metre high Mount Everest.
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.