Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin gave away harvest festival ‘Pongal’ gift hampers, comprising 20 items including a full piece of sugarcane, to beneficiaries marking the rollout of its state-wide distribution to over 2 crore families at an estimated cost of Rs 1,296.88 crore.
CM Stalin presented the gift, packed in a cloth bag, to 10 beneficiary families at the state Secretariat here on Tuesday.
The government said that the tokens specifying date and time are being distributed to ration card holders for collecting the Pongal gift from ration shops.
The Stalin govt’s move is to avoid people congregating at the same time at fair price shops to receive the festival hamper, an official release said.
The state government appealed to people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour while visiting the Public Distribution System outlets.
A total of 2,15,67,122 ‘rice’ category ration card holders and Sri Lankan Tamils living in camps in the state are eligible to get the gift hampers, said a PTI report.
Raw rice, jaggery, cashew, resin, cardamom, moong dhal, ghee, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander, mustard, cumin, pepper, tamarind, Bengal gram, urad dhal, rava, wheat flour, salt are the 19 essential commodities packed in the cloth bag in addition to sugarcane.
Cooperation Minister I Periyasamy, Food Minister R Sakkarapani, Health Minister Ma Subramanian, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu, Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu and senior officials participated in the festival hamper distribution event.
Last year on November 17, CM Stalin had announced the gift hamper scheme. Similar gift hampers were distributed during the previous AIADMK regime as well for Pongal.
Notably, ‘Pongal,’ is celebrated as ‘Tamizhar Thirunal’ (Festival of the Tamil people) on January 14.
(With Agency Inputs)