After starting the atta-dal scheme benefiting around 35 lakh families, the Punjab government now intends to distribute utensils to various sections in rural areas.
The government has decided to distribute utensils worth Rs 50 crore in villages through the panchayat and rural development department.
Like the atta dal scheme ration card, bicycles to students and the ambulance service, the utensils will also have chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's picture, logo of the Punjab government and the slogan 'Raaj Nahi Sewa' engraved on them.
The department has floated a tender for buying the utensils, and the process will be completed before February so that the distribution can be started before the parliamentary polls.
Sources said that while distributing these, priority would be given to self-help groups, women groups working in rural areas and dharamshalas for use in community functions. They could also be distributed to poor families on the recommendation of the authorities for which the final draft had to be made, sources added.
Each utensil kit will have 50 plates, serving bowls, spoons, cooking utensils and hot boxes, which will be packed in a steel box having the picture of the chief minister on it. The utensils will have the logo of the state government and the slogan so that they can't be sold off in the market. Each kit will cost around Rs 30,000.
Meanwhile, some utensil makers have accused the government of favouring select manufacturers by adding such clauses in the tender that would keep most local suppliers out.
Rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said the tender had been floated and would be opened in the last week of December. "I can't comment on the criterion of distribution, but the initial plan is to give utensils to all panchayats and self-help groups for community use purposes," he said.