It was worth the wait at Cliff House for the children attending the ‘Mambazhakalam’ Summer Camp on Thursday.

They did not want to miss out on a chance to interact with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, and were willing to wait for over half-an-hour before the Chief Minister could free himself from his official duties.

Each had a question to ask the Chief Minister. Some sought a solution to the water scarcity problem, and renovation of Sasthamkota lake in Kollam, while a few others wanted to know what steps the government had taken to prevent the death of tribal children of malnutrition in Attappady.

“The government admits that welfare measures and health facilities did not reach the rightful people. One should understand that these people follow tribal traditions and are reluctant to accept modern healthcare services. However, steps have been taken for the effective functioning of the Health and Social Welfare departments,” said Mr. Chandy.

The children wanted to know what steps the government would take to ensure safety of women in Kerala, especially after the Delhi gang rape incident.

According to Mr. Chandy , safety of women was a concern for the State as similar cases were reported here too. But respecting women and ensuring their safety should be a collective action among the people and not just the government.

Three children were lucky to celebrate their birthday at Cliff House, where Mr. Chandy wished them and shared cakes with the children. Mariamma Oommen ; Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan; and Palode Ravi, MLA, were present during the interaction.

Mr. Mohanan asked the children to work towards making the State self-sufficient in agriculture produce.

“Everyone should try to cultivate at least a portion of their vegetable requirement at their homes. Steps are being taken to set up bio-gas plants in all schools. We would slowly be able to build a culture, where we use fuel and vegetables from our school garden for cooking the noon meals,” said the Minister.

The week-long summer camp organised by the Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan will conclude on May 11.

Opportunities

In another interaction with the youth of Bharat Jagaran camp organised by the Kerala Youth Welfare Minister in the city, Mr. Chandy said that youth should grab the available opportunities and utilise them properly.

One of the participants wanted to know the steps he would take to promote national integration in the State.

Mr. Chandy said promoting tourism among tourists from other States will help in developing good relationship among people.

According to him, the mass contact programmes that were conducted across the State had enabled him to interact with the common people directly and know their problems personally.