In a special gesture to 140 students from BPL families in Palakkad District, Kerala Govt today offered to pay the interest on education loans they had taken from various banks during 2004-09.

The State Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced this during his Mass Contact Programme in Palakkad in Kerala.

The Government would pay the interest dues totalling Rs 75 lakh to banks on loans availed by students of various courses, belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

People in large numbers had turned up to meet Mr Chandy at the programme in this predominantly rural district since morning seeking solutions to their grievances.

Security was tight in and around Indira Gandhi Stadium in the town, to where Mr Chandy came walking from a nearby Inspection Bungalow as the opposition LDF blocked roads leading to the venue in the morning.

A total of 18,480 petitions on a host of issues ranging from welfare pensions to medical aid had been received in advance. In addition, fresh petitions were received and looked into by the Chief Minister and officials present at the venue.

Mr Chandy has embarked on the second phase of the Mass Contact Programme last month and has already covered five of the 14 districts.

The programme has won the UN's Public Service Award as a unique initiative in which the head of a government directly engaging with people at the grass roots.

LDF opposition had organised protests at the programme venues as part of their ongoing boycott of Mr Chandy demanding his resignation over the solar panel scam alleging that the fraudsters had the support of the chief minister and his office. Several people were allegedly have been financially cheated of by the promoters of a private firm which had offered them solar energy solutions.

Though government had ordered a judicial probe into the fraud, LDF have refused to give up their demand for Mr Chandy's resignation.

Keywords: education loans , BPL students,BPL families, State Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy , Below Poverty Line ,BPL,Security ,Indira Gandhi Stadium, Inspection Bungalow,LDF blocked ,petitions ,UN's Public Service Award ,education news