Though the amount was small, the gesture stood out as a shining example. But what made it remarkable was the response from the government.
The child donated Rs 520 given by her grandmother to buy a bicycle. When this news reached here, she was invited to Chennai and a bicycle was presented to her.
But, the response went from the expected to the bizarre when it was known that the officials had brought not just the girl, but her parents, relatives and even representatives from her school in Salem, all at government’s expense, which would have cost more than 10 times as that of the contribution.
It did not stop there. The girl was then paraded to address the media at the State Secretariat. Finally, some reporters began questioning the whole episode, asking the rationale behind spending so much on arranging travel for the whole team. Reporters also entered into a heated argument with an official who was miffed when questioned about the money spent on this purpose. When the official argued that the gesture was to encourage the child for donating her savings, questions were asked as to why officials in Salem failed to encourage her.
The irony was all the more pronounced when it was known that a retired district judge who wanted to donate Rs 1 lakh has not even been given an appointment by the CM until Wednesday. The joke in the secretariat goes that things would have moved faster if he were from Salem.
— Yazhiniyan, Chennai