Several women protested outside the taluk office (Guindy- Mambalam) in Ashok Nagar on Monday, alleging that they had not received the saris and dhotis they were due to get from the government for Pongal this year.

The women, who are below poverty line (BPL) cardholders, are entitled to free saris, but claim they have still not received them, even months after the festival.

On September 28, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced that the distribution of saris and dhotis for the current year should be completed by October 15.

Mallika Sarathy who works as a domestic help said, “We didn’t receive the saris even last year. This year, we have been constantly shuttling between ration shops and the taluk office and the officials tell us that they are yet to receive stock.”

A few weeks ago, officials told the beneficiaries they could collect their saris and dhotis on November 5, but on Monday, they said they hadn’t received stock from the government, she added.

Rani Murugesan, 67, who is a daily wage labourer, alleged that there was no coordination between the ration shop workers and taluk officials. “The sari they give us is worth Rs. 350 or so. I lose wages every time I come here to ask the officials if they have received the saris and we can collect them,” she said.

Officials at taluk office said that many of those who protested may not be actual beneficiaries of the scheme.

“Some of them do not fall under the BPL category and so are not eligible for the saris. We will ensure that the beneficiaries get it soon. The process has been delayed as we are yet to receive the stock of saris from the government,” said an official.

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