The initiative, launched in November 2017, addresses public grievances at the block level
Lechmi stands in front of her modest home — a small, boxy building with its worn out walls. A migrant from Thenkashi, she had bought it with her entire savings decades ago. But now the 65-year-old knows that the piece of paper in her trunk means nothing. Lechmi was one among the many expectant faces gathered at Tharayil Scheduled Caste Colony, Sooranad South, for the ‘Blockil Oru Divasam Collector’ programme.
“The 36 families in the colony have no title deed or ration card. They have been living here for over 20 years, but have no valid ownership documents. There have been multiple transactions in the past and it’s not easy to trace the original title deed holders,” says block panchayat president A. Suma.
Murugan, another resident waiting for an audience with Collector S. Karthikeyan, shares a similar story. The Collector assured them that legal complications in getting title deeds would be mitigated and instructed the officials to issue them residential certificates to procure ration cards.
Four blocks covered
‘Blockil Oru Divasam Collector’ was conceived as a micro-level interactive programme to monitor various government projects. The initiative, launched in November 2017, has covered four blocks.
As part of the initiative, Mr. Karthikeyan spends an entire day at a block checking out complaints and troubleshooting. “We find blocks the most ideal for tracking projects’ progress. It helps us get firsthand information of local issues. The aim is to solve them without delay. We now can solve 30 to 40% of the issues immediately,” says the Collector.
The schedule starts around 7.30 a.m. and the field visits are followed by a meeting with department heads and members of local self-government bodies. Another highlight is a two-hour interactive session with the rural youth which he terms “an attempt at reaching out to the youngsters and making them effective contributors.”
Tour of institutions
The programme also involves a tour of the major institutions in the block, including orphanages and old-age homes.
‘Blockil Oru Divasam Collector’ is not a one-time exercise, rather a cyclical process that ensures proper implementation of the instructions. “A first-of-its-kind attempt in Kerala, the main objective of the programme is to solve rural issues caught in bureaucratic snarl. There will be follow-up visits after covering all 11 blocks in the district,” says Assistant Development Commissioner V. Sudeshan.