Ahead of Pongal, several people throng the fair price shops in the city, anxiously waiting to collect their monthly quota of commodities.

Ahead of Pongal, several people throng the fair price shops in the city, anxiously waiting to collect their monthly quota of commodities.

Many workers at the fair price shops and consumers in various parts of the city, including Anna Nagar, Vysarpadi, Kannagi Nagar and Arumbakkam, feel the crowds are larger than usual. This, they say, may be due to two reasons: firstly, many people crowd the shops thinking that their ration cards may be renewed, and they also fear on missing out on receiving commodities required for Pongal, including rice and sugar.

On Monday, the State government declared that placing of an extra page for the extension of validity of ration cards may be stopped from January 8 to January 17 for executing the Pongal gift scheme, where eligible people may receive one kilo of rice, one kilo of sugar and Rs. 100. But workers at the fair price shops said that they have received instructions to distribute the Pongal gift to even those yet to renew their cards; and after January 18, renewal can be made and entry would be made for those who have already received the gift.

Despite the order, many had arrived at the fair price shops to renew their cards. P. K. Ezhil Arasu, a resident of Vysarpadi said, “When we got the news about the postponement of renewal I was worried that I may not get the monthly quota or the Pongal gift. So, I wanted to try my luck today but the shop was crowded and the shopkeeper said that there was no need to renew the card and that he would give all the items to everyone till the stock gets over.”

There were some who believed that they may not get the Pongal gift as it was yet to reach their ration shops. S. Muniyandi, a consumer said, “The worker at the shop said that they may get the supply in a day or two. So, I don’t know if I would be able to get it in the crowd. I would be happy if I get the monthly quota at least,” he said.

An employee of a fair price shop in Anna Nagar said, “We are supposed to get the supply today and distribute from tomorrow till Sunday, but for some reason we has not reached us; so, we have informed the concerned authorities. Once, it comes we will begin to distribute the Pongal gift.”

But officials of the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation said that they had sent the goods to all the shops well ahead of time to start distribution by tomorrow. “The announcement for the gift scheme has been a little late, so we aim to cover 80 per cent of the people. Those who don’t get it before Pongal due to overcrowding in shops, can avail the offer even after the festival,” said an official.

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