More than fifty thousand people thronged the Nehru Stadium at Nagambadom on Tuesday to convey their grievances directly to the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during his mass contact programme.
Even as Mr. Chandy, partaking in the eleventh such programme held in the state, seldom seemed to get worn out while listening to the problems faced by the common populace, the scorching heat coupled with the heavy rush within the venue proved to be a demanding exercise for the public.
The brunt of such discomforts was faced by the patients and the physically-challenged who awaited the presence of the Chief Minister from within the many ambulances and other vehicles that were parked in lengthy queues outside the venue.
However, many petitioners had left the venue with the immense satisfaction of receiving the aid they had hoped to achieve from the programme. Among these were Babu and Valsamma of the Pulluparambil house in Maalam near Manarcad. They had lost their son Saju Abraham recently when he died following a road accident. On hearing the plight of the family, the Chief Minister directed the concerned officials to sanction an amount of Rs. 1 lakh for the family.
Similar is the case of Manu of Alunkal house, Vettukutti near here, who had worked as a worker in timber industry, and unfortunately was recently left bedridden with renal failure. The family, consisting of his wife and two young children, had found it extremely difficult to make both ends meet in addition to carrying the expenses of his regular treatments. He was full of gratitude when the Chief Minister sanctioned an amount of Rs. 50,000 in order to bring respite for the troubled family.
Amidst the cacophony that had existed within the venue, a group was seen communicating silently in sign language. The ten youth, all hearing and speech impaired had arrived at the venue seeking a positive decision on their long-standing demand for driving licenses.
One among them, Ajith P. Chandran, who happens to be a Deputy Excise Commissioner, effectively communicates that they have repeatedly been denied of licenses on the grounds they were be unable to hear.
However, the mass contact programme proved to be beneficial as they were asked by the officials of the Regional Transport Office to produce a medical certificate that confirmed that they were capable of hearing with assistance of hearing aids.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph were kept busy by the many petitions that pertained to the departments they spearhead.
The programme was still in progress at the time of filing this report and was expected to continue well into the night.
A total amount of Rs. 88.96 lakh has been sanctioned on account of medical aids that were approved for those suffering from various ailments during the programme.