For people living in the rural ambits of the country, a District Collector is someone they look up to with utmost admiration and respect.
What makes these civil servants hold such a venerable position in the minds of the ordinary people, even more than the local politicians, are the various citizen-centric initiatives undertaken by them, that have tangible and impactful results.
T Anbalagan, the District Collector of Karur in Tamil Nadu, is among the many unsung heroes who serve the people without seeking any publicity. However, never in their dreams did the villagers of Chinnamanaickenpatti would think that the District Collector would visit them and that he would share his lunch with one of the downtrodden families.
But he did.
Octogenarian couple Rengammal and Raman, who struggle to eke out a living, were taken aback when Anbalagan called in on them.
He had been in the village to partake in the mass contact program near Mookankurichi, following which he turned up unexpectedly at Rengammal’s tiny hut. Interacting with the old couple, Anbalagan learnt that they had no other means of survival other than depending on the free rice scheme of the state government and that their two daughters had left the village after getting married.
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He also learnt that neither of the octogenarians had been receiving Old Age Pension (OAP) as they are entitled to and set the revenue officials on the task immediately, making sure that the application formalities were finished right away.
But what emerged poignant amongst Anbalagan’s many gestures was when he realised that they were yet to figure out what to prepare for the day, and immediately volunteered to share his home-cooked lunch with the couple.
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“Instead of having lunch in the company of officials, I thought of eating with a poor family, after learning from villagers about the predicament the old couple. The gesture only signifies that we are for the people,” he told The Hindu.
Thanks to Anbalagan’s habit of carrying his lunch from home, Rengammal and Raman not only managed to have a sumptuous meal but also were able to ease out of the daily struggle of preparing food for once.
We hope that the collector’s intervention will bring a respite to the old couple’s life soon.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)