Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s one-day mass contact programme in Ernakulam district – which began amidst heavy rain and LDF protests – rained government aid and concessions on hundreds of needy people who attended the event.

This was the second event of the second edition of the hugely successful Janasamparakka (mass contact) programme, which facilitates a personal interaction between the Chief Minister and the people.

The Opposition LDF, which, as part of its strategy to blockade all public functions of the Chief Minister, trooped in around the Ernakulam Collectorate. Their rally and protests disrupted road traffic for a couple of hours, but the function went ahead on the Collectorate grounds. The district administration had made elaborate security arrangements.

State Ministers K. Babu, K.C. Joseph and Anoop Jacob; many MLAs from the district; block-level and panchayat-level representatives and hundreds of government officials were present. Officials from 83 panchayats, 11 municipalities, the Kochi city corporation and various taluks assisted in the conduct of the programme.

Around 6,000 people had sent in online applications for government aid, filed complaints or grievances and sought an audience with the Chief Minister. Of them, about 4,400 applications were resolved at the screening stage.

Nearly 500 of the remaining applicants were invited to attend the function where the Chief Minister took impromptu decisions and issued orders for redressal of their grievances.

They included grant of aid for building houses, free government land, lump sum assistance for treatment, and so on. For instance, a man who had been paralysed after a fall from a tree was given Rs 1 lakh; another paralysed person got Rs 1 lakh and a three-wheeler to move around; yet another man got Rs 50,000 and aid for building a house. More than 300 people were given free title deeds for government land.

The Chief Minister, in his opening remarks, said that he had three objectives in conducting the event: bridge the gap between the government and the governed; speedy redressal of people’s grievances and removal of unnecessary formalities in finding solutions to the people’s problems.

He noted that 45 people-friendly rules had been issued following the first edition of the mass contact programme.

(This article was published on October 25, 2013)
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