Chennai, Jan 6:
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday launched distribution of gift hampers containing essentials for Pongal festival — one kg raw rice, one kg sugar, two feet of sugarcane, 20-gram cashew, 20-gram raisins, and five grams of cardamom, besides Rs 1,000 in cash.
Members of 10 families received these gift hampers from the Chief Minister at the Secretariat.
While the essentials for Pongal festival would be distributed to around 2.02 crore families including those in Sri Lankan Tamil refugee camps, cash support of Rs 1,000 would be given to 1.98 crore families, except those in Thiruvarur Assembly constituency where the model code is in force due to the by-election.
The scheme was being implemented at a cost of Rs 258 crore and the gift hampers will be available in ration shops ahead of the Pongal festival, it said.
The scheme is being implemented in line with an announcement made in the Governor’s address to the Tamil Nadu Assembly on January 2.
The family card holders should come to the ration shops with a cotton bag to get the Pongal gift hampers from January 7 onwards. To avoid the rush, each day, these gift hampers would be distributed to a particular section of the cardholders. Forgetting Rs 1,000, the smart cards would be registered with the e-POS machine at the ration shop.
For the people who do not have the smart cards, the amount would be distributed using Aadhaar card or by sending a One Time Password to the mobile phones of the family card holders.
Pongal gift for Thiruvarur
The Election Commission (EC) on Friday allowed the issue of ‘gratuitous relief’ and Pongal gift hampers to continue for people affected by cyclone ‘Gaja’ in Tiruvarur Assembly constituency where a model code of conduct is in force in view of the by-election on January 28.
The commission conveyed this to Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahu. Already, the Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan had sought permission from EC to continue the issue of relief materials to people affected by the cyclone in Tiruvarur constituency.
“The Tamil Nadu government can continue with the relief measures in the cyclone-affected areas for which decision had already been taken prior to the announcement of the by-election,” the letter from EC said.
However, the EC pointed out that the no political functionary should be involved in disbursement of any relief materials. Such material/benefits should be distributed only by the official machinery concerned.