CHENNAI: Each of the 2.15 crore rice ration card holders in the State will get 100 grams of Aavin ghee in the Pongal hamper to be distributed in January next year. This is the first time the State government will distribute Aavin products through public distribution system.
The State government recently announced that 2,15,48,060 rice ration card holders, including those staying in Sri Lankan Tamil rehabilitation camps, will be distributed Pongal gifts comprising 20 grocery items. This would cost the exchequer Rs 1,088 crore. The 20 grocery items include raw rice, cashews, raisins, cardamom, green gram, jaggery, ghee, turmeric powder, chilli powder, mustard, fenugreek, pepper, coriander powder, tamarind, black gram, Bengal gram, semolina, salt and wheat flour.
The Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) which has been entrusted with the task of distributing the gift hampers for the Pongal festival has decided to procure the ghee from State-owned Aavin, said officials. “Each gift hamper will have 100 grams of ghee from Aavin brand. The buying price of ghee from Aavin is yet to be fixed,” said a senior official from TNCSC. “All grocery items are procured as per the guidelines prescribed by the government,” added the official.
The decision is expected to clear a few thousand tonnes of butter stocked by Aavin, thereby improving its financial position. While Aavin officials remained tight-lipped, industrial sources said more than 2,000 metric tonnes of butter is expected to be converted into ghee for distribution as Pongal gift.
However, this year, the government has not announced a cash gift for Pongal. In 2019, the cash dole for Pongal was hiked from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000. It was increased to `2,500 in 2021.