Immediately after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state, he started attending to people's grievances through his much-popular Janata Darbar (People's Court). Hundreds of kilometers away from UP, in the northeastern state of Manipur, CM Biren Singh has also started meeting people and listening to their problems in his monthly programme, Meeyamgi Numit (People's Day). Except for different names, the purpose of both the programmes are same--meeting between the head of the states where the CMs listen to people's problems first-hand and try to solve them.
During his first People's Day, hosted on May 15, the Manipur CM met around 100 citizens and got a whip of issues plaguing the state. However, one case that stood out is the eyesight problem of a partially-blind elderly man, who knocked at the CM's door in the capital city, Imphal, with the hope of "seeing the world again".
67-year-old Soubam Birendra, a resident of Imphal East, attended the People's Day on May 15 and told Singh that because of lack of finances he was unable to treat his blindness. The partially-blind elderly man had cataract but did not have money for surgery.
"When I told the CM about my eye problem, he directed me to his personal ophthalmologist who runs a clinic near the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal city with a note on which his telephone number was written. I went there and today I have regained my eyesight," Birendra told The Telegraph.
The clinic, which is not well-equipped to treat Birendra's bilateral cataract in his right eye, re-directed the patient to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, run by the government.
"He came to us on May 31. We conducted an operation immediately free of cost as the patient was referred to us by the CM. The next day he regained his vision," the director of the institute, L Deven, said.
Birendra narrated how because of lack of money he could not visit an ophthalmologist all these years and led a "dark" life. Thus he decided to seek help from the CM after he came to know that on People's Day citizens can raise their problems before him.
"I thank the CM and the doctors of the JNIMS who performed the surgery," Birendra said.
"I pray that Biren Singh remains the chief minister. I feel much younger after I regained my eyesight," Birendra said.
Now, the CM has fixed 15th of every month as People's Day to allow people come and meet him freely to air their grievances. Singh is going to meet citizens on June 15 as well. The CM has also set the 10th of every month to meet citizens from the hills.