Officials heave a sigh of relief at the peaceful polling for the Lok Sabha elections across the State. And the people are happy that they have discharged their democratic right to choose their rulers.

But the non-resumption of grievances redress meetings even after the completion of polling is a matter of concern for all sections, especially the poor and farmers.

The weekly grievances day meetings, held every Monday in the district headquarters, the farmers’ grievances day meetings in the third week of every month and the mass contact programme held in rotation in villages once a month are very popular programmes, as they are aimed at redressing the grievances of the needy.

These programmes, presided over by the Collector, used to attract a good number of people, even from faraway places, as they could meet the heads of government department easily.

After the model code of conduct came into effect on March 5, these programmes have been suspended until the votes are counted on May 16.

The propriety of keeping the meetings suspended, even after polling was over, is not clear. The Election Commission should not let the people suffer till the counting day, a cross-section of the people says.

In particular, the farmers’ grievances day meetings used to evoke an overwhelming response, as they dealt with all problems relating to agriculture. “Suspension of these programmes until after the election process may be justified.

But keeping them suspended after the elections is unreasonable,” says P.Viswanathan, State president of the Tamizhaga Yeri Matrum Aatru Pasana Vivasayigal Sangam.

With the State reeling under drought conditions, the drinking water scarcity is acute in many districts.

Fodder has become scarce, forcing government to open temporary outlets for marketing it. People used to take advantage of the weekly grievances day meetings and the mass contact programmes to highlight these problems, so they should be resumed immediately, says R.Muthukumar, Lalgudi taluk committee member of the Communist Party of India.