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Mass contact programs: A futile exercise?

Mass contact programs: A futile exercise?

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recently held a mass contact program in Kozhikode to address the issues of the masses starting at 9 am and extending up to 2 am the next morning reportedly resolving 11, 000 grievances submitted.

More than 11, 000 complaints have been received for the program through various sources and more than 90 per cent of these complaints have already been investigated by respective officials and reports have been submitted. Chandy had earlier conducted similar programs in Trivandrum and Ernakulam in an attempt to find solutions to people’s appeals and concerns. The CM also plans to hold such interaction programs in other districts as well. As Chandy’s term as the Chief Minister nears the end of his tenure, such public interactive programs are assumed to benefit the government and improve his persona. Darbars were held by the kings to find prompt solutions for public grievances. In a democracy, such interactive sessions are conducted by the representatives of the people to address their issues, most often with an eye on votes. Now the Panchayats, village committees, the Parliament and the MPs along with the MLAs, crores of funds and scores of schemes for public welfare all replace the darbar sessions at the time of kings. In such a system, there shouldn’t be any room for any unattended complaints including the issues related to non-receipt of pensions, monthly income or the treatment of ailments to the most deserved. For the recompense issues, the Tribunal as well as the Courts are present.

The mass contact program was planned at the beginning of the Chief Minister’s term and if it benefits the masses in any way, it’s appreciable. But question arises as to why the Chief Minister sees the need to meet the public directly to resolve their concerns. The government missionary is stagnant, incapable and immersed in corruption and the people bear the brunt of their activities. The governments in power have not been able to improve the system, or make the bureaucrats responsible towards their duty. All employees are members of the unions favouring the left and right parties. The interminable reality is that the leaders or the people in power make them aware of their rights alone and not duties. Since the Right To Information Act came into being, people are aware of where to put noose, but are unable to untie it, whereby the intermediaries sneak in and people pay for services, giving way to corruption. The authorities needn’t be worried about receiving the complaints and appeals from the people as the advanced technology would do the job. The pleas and grievances are ever increasing and the government would be able to resolve only a trivial part of the issues. The officials, the people’s representatives and the politicians should be showing some commitment and sincerity towards the masses who have voted them to power.

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