KOLLAM: Crowds from various parts of the district attended Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s mass contact programme held here on Monday braving the rains.
People had gathered since early morning in the hope of finding solutions to their grievances and the venue at Fathima Matha National College was filled with black umbrellas.
14-year-old Padmesh from Shooranadu got the opportunity to meet the CM first. Hailing from a poor family and owing a debt of over Rs 2 lakh for treating his brain tumour, Padmesh received Rs 50,000 as aid. His family managed to get an assurance of replacing their APL card with a BPL one. Padmesh was among the 109 applicants who were earlier designated to meet the CM directly.
By 8.30 pm, financial aid to the tune of Rs 6.15 crore had been disbursed. 24 people who were in the list of those given early petitions met Chandy directly and received aid worth Rs 14.15 lakhs. Fresh applicants had increased to 17,500 by then. As part of the programme, the officials expect to consider over 30,000 applications on the day.
Previous year, around 36,000 applications were considered and aid worth Rs 4.8 crore was distributed.
Among the applicants, over 9,000 sought financial aid from CM’s Disaster Relief Fund. Aid for medical ailments such as cancer, eye operation, paralysis, liver malfunction, heart and kidney ailments etc was given to people in the age group of 5 to 68 years. The fianancial aid was to the tune of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Three-wheeler scooter, aid for building house and BPL cards were also distributed. The Chief Minister also announced that haemophilia patients would get life-long medical support. Earlier the support was limited to Rs 2 lakh.
Women self-help groups belonging to Kudumbashree units in Chithara, Thrikadavur, Pattathanam and Thevally provided canteen service.
Allopathy, ayurveda and homoeo medical teams consisting of 18 doctors and 60 staff were present at the venue.
There were five ambulances and facilities for four beds for treating patients were arranged. 1,400 police personnel were deployed for the smooth conduct of the programme. 1,600 government officials took part in the massive administrative exercise.