KCR’s Christmas gift scheme for poor to cost Telangana govt around Rs 15 crore
The Telangana government will distribute gifts to around two lakh Christians from impoverished backgrounds and host Christmas dinners, officials told Hindustan Times, confirming the administration will stick to a tradition that started in 2015.
The gifts will include sarees or cloth pieces that can be stitched into a pair of shirt and a pant, or a salwar-kameez. “The distribution of gift hampers will take place on December 14 and the dinner will be hosted on December 18. The total expenditure for distribution of gift hampers and hosting of lunch is around Rs 15 crore,” Syed Omar Jaleel, the secretary of Telangana minority welfare department said.
In September, the state government distributed sarees to around one crore Hindu women on the occasion of Bathukamma festival during Dasara, but the gifts were criticised for their poor quality.
Jaleel said as per estimates, there were around one lakh poor Christians in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, and another lakh in the rest of Telangana.
The government has asked MLAs and corporators to identify those eligible for the gifts with the help of Christian organisations associated with local churches.
“Once the beneficiaries under each church are identified, we will transfer the amount directly to the church account to host the dinner, besides handing over the gift packets with new clothes,” the official said. “In all, 190 churches have been identified for the scheme.”
Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has also decided that Christmas will be celebrated as an official state function. “The chief minister will host a grand dinner for elite Christian families of the city in Hyderabad on Christmas eve,” Jaleel said.
The distribution of gift hampers during Christmas festivities was launched by KCR in December 2015.
He also laid a foundation stone for a Christian Bhavan proposed to be constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore at Mahendra Hills in Secunderabad. But construction did not take off due to legal problems over the land.
Last year, he promised a two-acre land for at Nagole in Hyderabad, but it, too, did not materialise. Finally, on December 4 this year, deputy chief minister Mohammad Mahmud Ali laid foundation for Christian Bhavan at Medchal on the city suburbs.
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