Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s mass contact programme in Kottayam clocked up 19 hours, becoming the longest to be conducted so far this year, say sources.

The programme which began at 9 a.m. on Monday ended at 3.45 a.m. on Tuesday.

A statement issued by the Public Relations Department said Rs.2.30 crore was sanctioned as financial assistance to petitioners. Of this, over Rs.50 lakh had been handed over to the beneficiaries. A total of 12,351 complainants turned up for the programme. Among these 10,589 were fresh complaints and 1,762 were filed earlier.

Dues settled

Among the notable decisions made at the programme was the State government’s decision to settle all dues in connection with the wells constructed as part of the Kuttanad package.

According to official sources, Rs.152.37 lakh was to be paid as dues out of the total allocation of Rs.153.4 lakh for the district.

The government had granted administrative sanction for Rs.436.27 lakh for works envisaged under the package in the financial year 2013-14. Mr. Chandy issued a directive in this regard to the District Soil Conservation Officer. The decision was made after several petitions raised the grievances at the mass contact programme.

Aid for orphans

In another laudable decision, the State government decided to shoulder the burden of the education of two children, who were orphaned by the death of their mother a day ago. Mr. Chandy issued necessary directions to provide assistance to Meera, a nursing student, and her brother Manu, a Class 6 student.

Their mother, Annie, succumbed to cancer on Sunday. Their father, Jacob, died owing to a heart attack in September. The Chief Minister also sanctioned Rs.50,000 each to be deposited in their bank account.

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