Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had a chance to witness the plight of a tribal family staying in a makeshift tent in the forests near Plappally on the Mannarakulanji-Pampa main trunk road leading to Sabarimala on his way to Pampa on Thursday.
The vehicle carrying the Chief Minister was stopped at the sight of a tribal couple with their five children waiting on the wayside near Plappally in the forenoon. Sajeendran and his wife, Saritha, along with their five small children, have been staying in a shabby tent-like dwelling in the forests, braving the vagaries of nature, for the past eight months.
With folded hands, they unbundled their woes before the Chief Minister. Though the government had issued them a ration card, they alleged that certain middlemen were its actual beneficiaries.
They have shown a packet of mouldy rice supplied to them by a group of people the other day. Though the Health Department has introduced mobile clinics as part of the tribal welfare initiatives, Mr. Sajeendran complained that they had not been receiving any medical care all these months.
After a patient hearing for about 10 minutes, Mr. Chandy gave Rs.1,000 to Ms. Saritha out of his pocket, promising them better living conditions and redress of their grievances at the earliest, before proceeding to Pampa.