A tribute to Oommen Chandy: Congress to help 50 hearing-impaired children

A graphic of Oommen Chandy (left). Aluva native Amitha, who will be one of the beneficiaries of the Congress initiative with KPCC chief K Sudhakaran

Kochi: The Congress in Kerala on Sunday announced that it would facilitate a cochlear implant upgrade for 50 children as a tribute to the late Oommen Chandy.

The plight of the hearing-impaired children who could not find the money for the upgradation due to alleged government inaction was reported by Onmanorama.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran announced his party's decision to help the children after visiting Amitha -- one of the children who fear loss of hearing -- at her house in Kanjoor near Aluva.

"The KPCC is taking over the expenses for Amitha's treatment. The smile we could find on the face of Amitha is the biggest honour one can give to Oommen Chandy who left us recently," Sudhakaran said.

Oommen Chandy introduced the Sruthitharangam scheme during his tenure as chief minister. "It lifted over 600 children to the world of hearing. The Pinarayi Vijayan government stopped the scheme for reasons unknown. We realise the pain of the children who are losing their hearing ability again due to the non-allocation of funds by the present government. Oommen Chandy was quite pained about the plight of such kids. It was the last issue to which he responded angrily," Sudhakaran said.

In a statement on June 15, Chandy said he did not understand why the Pinarayi government was being so cruel to the children who can’t hear.

Sudhakaran said Rs 5 lakh would be needed for each child who requires an upgrade. "Congress wants to bear the expenses of all the children who need the treatment. However, we have decided to assist 50 children in the first phase due to financial constraints," he said.

He urged like-minded people and organisations to come forward o help the children in need.

The opposition Congress' announcement coincides with the government sanctioning Rs 59.48 lakh for cochlear implant upgrades. The July 22 decision will, however, benefit only 25 hearing-impaired adolescents and teenagers whose devices have become obsolete.

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