People coming out of PDS shop after collecting the Pongal gift hamper in Chennai on Monday.
People coming out of PDS shop after collecting the Pongal gift hamper in Chennai on Monday.

Stalin launches Pongal gift hamper distribution

The state government initially announced that with a view to celebrate the harvest festival, all rice cardholders and the families living in Sri Lankan Tamils Rehabilitation camps would also be given a Pongal package of Rs 1,000, one kg rice and one kg sugar.

CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday launched distribution of free Pongal gift hamper scheme to all the 2.19 crore rice ration cardholders in the state to enable them to celebrate the harvest festival of Pongal.

CM Stalin kick started the scheme by distributing the gift hamper containing Rs 1,000 cash, one kg each of rice and sugar and one full sugarcane at a ration shop in Chennai.

He also distributed free dhotis and sarees to the cardholders for which the government has allotted Rs 487.92 crore. This will not only benefit the poor people, but would also offer job opportunities to those involved in handloom and textile sectors.

The state government initially announced that with a view to celebrate the harvest festival, all rice cardholders and the families living in Sri Lankan Tamils Rehabilitation camps would also be given a Pongal package of Rs 1,000, one kg rice and one kg sugar.

About 2.19 crore cardholders in the state would be benefitted by this package and the state government would incur an expenditure of Rs 2,429.05 crore.

Since then, sugarcane farmers had been staging various forms of protests as non-inclusion of sugarcane in the package would affect them badly as the government would not procure them and that they will get low price from the market for their produce.

Political parties, including the Opposition AIADMK and the ruling DMK’s ally CPM have urged the government to include sugarcane in the Pongal package as demanded by the farmers.

Accepting the demands of the farmers, Chief Minister Stalin had announced that a full sugarcane has been included in the package by procuring it from the farmers,

Following this, Chief Minister Stalin on Monday launched the Pongal package scheme and it was distributed across the state. Tokens were already issued to all cardholders mentioning the date and time of the distribution to avoid overcrowding in ration shops.

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