Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday promised more amendments to government procedures in the light of his experiences at the mass contact programmes in the 14 districts of the State.
In an article released for publication here, he said the government would consider devolving powers to the grama sabhas to identify beneficiaries of various welfare pensions. He said several local issues had come to his attention during the mass contact programmes and these were promptly settled. Citing an instance, he said the Cabinet had released Rs.5 crore when the poor condition of the roads was brought to his notice by several people, including the Kannur MP, at his mass contact programme in the district. He also brought changes to the procedures for issuing title deeds in Idukki and this would come into force from December 28 when the next round of title distribution is carried out.
He also complimented the student police and NCC cadets, Scouts and Guides, Red Cross and other voluntary agencies for their dedication in ensuring the comforts of thousands of petitioners who attended the programmes.
Referring to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) boycott of the mass contact programmes, Mr. Chandy said the Opposition had lost an opportunity to understand and address the problems faced by the common man. “People start believing in the State administration only when the distance between the two is shortened. I feel that through the mass contact programmes, I have been able to take the State administration to the people,” he observed.
He felt he had benefitted from the mass contact programmes because he got a second opportunity to understand people’s problems. He had been able to find out the reasons why government schemes did not reach the people. “I became a student and the people my book. The mass contact programme is not merely a programme. It is a mission for me. I forget myself when I am in the midst of this mission. I don’t feel the pangs of hunger or thirst. Neither do I feel tired. I see only the faces of helpless people and the burden of their lives,” he said.