Chennai, Jan 5 (PTI) Yhe Tamil Nadu government Saturday launched a scheme of providing Rs 1,000 to all ration card-holders on the occasion of Pongal festival, being celebrated on January 15.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched the scheme by giving away Rs 1,000 each to 10 beneficiaries at a function here.

He also also gave away Pongal gift hampers to them.

The hampers contain one kg each of rice and sugar, cashew nuts and raisin (both 20 gm) and cardamom, all used to prepare Pongal, a sweet dish, on the occasion of the harvest festival which also marks the birth of the auspicious Tamil month Thai.

Two feet sugarcane is also part of the gift hamper.

The scheme will cover about 2.01 crore families including the Sri Lankan Tamil families residing in camps in Tamil Nadu, an official release said.

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.

This scheme will benefit 1.97 crore families and will not be implemented in the bypoll-bound Tiruvarur constituency as the model code of conduct is in force.

Bypoll to Tiruvarur was necessitated following the death of former chief minister M Karunanidhi on August 7 last year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.