Chennai: Tamilnadu Chief Minister M K Stalin today launched the special Pongal package to 2.15 crore ration card holders and Sri Lankan Tamils living in rehabilitation camps to enable them to celebrate the harvest festival this month.
Stalin launched the distribution of the pongal package, containing 20 grocery items, at an event held at the State Secretariat here.
In all, 2,15,48,060 family cardholders and Lankan Tamil families will receive these hampers. The government would incur an expenditure of Rs 1,088 crore for this purpose, he said and wished the people of the State to celebrate the traditional festival by receiving this special package.
Unlike last year, when the AIADMK government provided a cash component of Rs 2,500 to each card holders, this year, the DMK regime, which came to power in May last year, did not announce any cash component as part of the Pongal gift hamper pack.
The gift hampers will have 20 essential items including raw rice, jaggery, cashew, resins, moong dal, ghee, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander, mustard, cumin, tamarind, cardamom, urad dhal, Bengal gram, wheat flour, rava, and salt.
The Opposition AIADMK urged the DMK government not to scrap the cash component as part of the package and wanted it to be continued to help people hit by the Covid pandemic.
The traditional Tamil festival of Pongal was not only celebrated as a harvest festival, but was celebrated as an occasion to hail the farmers, who feed the people, and the farmers thanking the Sun God for a good harvest.
Pongal, which falls on 14 January, is the main festival of Tamils, marking the birth of auspicious Tamil month ‘Thai,’ and is celebrated with a lot of fervour and gaiety.
The households prepare Pongal, a sweet delicacy made of rice, milk and jaggery and the festival would last for four days and culminate with Kaanum Pongal (sight seeing).