Malappuram (Kerala) Nov 4 IANS | 10 months ago

Mass contact programmes are not just about handing out freebies, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy remarked Monday while inaugurating the third edition of the programme here.


"The objective of this programme is not giving out money from the chief minister's relief fund, instead it is to sort out the problems of the common people which often get entwined in red tapism," Chandy said.

Early this year, the chief minister received an award from the United Nations for the mass contact programmes that he conducted first in 2004 and then in 2011.

Under this programme, the chief minister, along with all crucial district authorities, arrives at the 14 district headquarters of the state and listens to the grievances of the people. In most cases, the problems are sorted out on the spot.

So far, Chandy has covered two districts under the third edition of the programme which ends when he visits Kannur Dec 18.

The people register their grievances and the district authorities come up with quick solutions to the problem. As chief minister, Chandy uses his discretion to sort out issues.

Meanwhile, the Left opposition in the state has been continuing its boycott of Chandy, demanding that he resign over what has come to be termed the "solar scam" in which some former members of his personal staff were charged.

Following the protests, more than 1,700 police officials were on duty during the mass contact programme of the chief minister. As expected, Left supporters were stopped from reaching the venue of the programme.

After shouting slogans for some time, the Left activists left.

"This is a learning experience for us and through what we learned in the previous two editions our government has brought out 45 orders which are basically re-writing old laws to make the people get closer to governance," Chandy said.

As in previous editions of the programme, the chief minister stays on until he has heard the very last person. And this has often happened well past midnight.

(Posted on 04-11-2013)