Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi Wednesday hailed the Madras High Court order directing the Tamil Nadu government to restrict the Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 to Below Poverty Line families. Bedi, who has come under attack from Chief Minister V Narayanasamy after she insisted on sticking to a government order which restricted Pongal gift hamper scheme to BPL families in the union territory, said the high court order is "a voice of wisdom, sagacity, financial prudence." The Madras High Court Wednesday directed that the Pongal cash gift be limited to BPL families as against the AIADMK government's decision to provide it to all ration card-holders irrespective of financial status.
The court had issued the order on a PIL petition challenging the government decision contending that it had been taken unmindful of the state's financial condition. In a message to the media, Bedi said the order "is a voice of wisdom, sagacity, financial prudence and reasonable restraint protecting society as a whole... also one of accountability and responsibility towards the really needy." The former IPS officer also said the order was a message to the executive and public officials making them sensitive to their responsibility and duty to serve with full awareness.
The Pongal gift in Puducherry comprises among others rice, jaggery, cashew nut and raisins required to make sweet pongal, a delicacy offered to the God on the harvest festival day. However, the chief minister has been opposing the Lt Governor's stand and wants the gift to be made available to all including above poverty line families for the festival. The chief minister has returned the file related to the scheme to Bedi recording the government's protest.