Distribution of Pongal gift pack, consisting of one kg of rice, one kg of sugar and a sum of Rs. 100, has begun in Cuddalore district.

All 1,371 fair price shops, including 244 part-time shops, will be kept open on Sunday to give away gift packets to ration card holders.

In all, gifts worth Rs. 10.49 crore to a total number of 6,55,769 ration card holders in the districts will be given away.

Inaugurating gift distribution at Padhirikuppam here on Thursday, Environment Minister M.C. Sampath said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had arranged for the gifts to enable households to celebrate Pongal festival in a joyful manner.

Collector R. Kirloshkumar said that for 655.769 tonnes of rice had been allotted to the district for the purpose. Rice stocks were kept in Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation godowns in seven blocks.

The cash component was being met by the Central Cooperative Bank. The Collector further said that additional employees had been provided to fair price shops for distribution of the gift package.

Wherever needed, police personnel had been deployed, the Collector added.