The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rice & sugar gift for Diwali

Chennai, Oct. 28: A day after Karnataka began releasing Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa announced a “Diwali gift” for the nearly 10 lakh landless agricultural workers living in the Cauvery delta.

The Tamil Nadu government’s “gift bag” will contain 10 kg of rice, one kg of sugar, 250 grams of sweets, 100 grams of ghee, besides vegetables and other cooking ingredients like green gram, Jayalalithaa announced in the Assembly today.

The package will also include Rs 50 in cash for each family to celebrate Diwali, she said.

This special scheme will be implemented through fair price shops with the assistance of panchayat heads and village administrative officers.

in the main Cauvery delta districts of Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur, besides parts of adjoining Cuddalore, Tiruchirapalli, Pudukottai, Karur, Perambalur and Namakkal districts.

All these places have been hit by severe drought as the non-release of Cauvery waters had hampered agricultural operations.

The programme will cost the government Rs 21 crore, the Tamil Nadu chief minister said, adding that Karnataka’s obstinacy coupled with the failure of the south-west monsoon this year was responsible for the drought which resulted in a dip in normal agricultural operations. With very little or no work, landless labourers were put to “great distress with no money in their hands”.

“I hope that this effort of the government will reach out to them in this hour of distress and enable them to look forward to a more fulfilling Deepavali next year,” Jayalalithaa said.

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