September 18, 2016
Thanjavur: The Tamil Nadu state Forest Minister R. Duraikannu, and District Collector A. Annadurai donned the roles of family members as they presented ‘seer’ (gifts) to 80 first-time expectant mothers at the ‘Samudhaya Valaikaappu’ (community baby shower) ceremony held in Thanjavur today.
The Dheerga Sumangali Mahal, the venue for the function, was abuzz with excitement as 80 pregnant women, all first-time expectant young mothers from poor families, assembled for the traditional ceremony, normally conducted in the seventh or ninth month of their pregnancy at their mothers’ places.
“Since most of the families could not afford to perform the ceremony at their homes, Amma (Chief Minister Jayalalithaa) came out with the idea of the community baby shower ceremony,” Duraikannu said, while addressing the function. The baby shower ceremony, brainchild of the Chief Minister, is being conducted since 2011, he added.
Pregnant women were given Rs.18,000 in three instalments under Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme, the Minister said.
The minister advised the pregnant women to be happy and stress-free to deliver healthy babies. “You should be healthy, both mentally and physically, and visit the doctor for periodical check-ups,” he said, and warned them against taking medicine without doctors’ prescription.
Minister Duraikannau, along with Rajya Sabha member R. Vaithilingam and District Collector Annadurai, distributed the ‘seer,’ a gift plate containing fruits, new sari, blouse piece, turmeric, vermilion, sandalwood powder, and bangles, to the young women and blessed them.
The minister also distributed welfare assistance to the tune of Rs.1.40 crores to 442 beneficiaries.
Officials of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the organizers of the ceremony, said a total 2,360 pregnant women from 16 blocks in Thanjavur district were given similar gifts during similar events held in Thanjavur, Papanasam, and Ayyampettai today.
MPs K. Parasuraman (Thanjavur), R. Bharathimohan (Mayiladuthurai), Mayor Savithri Gopal, District Panchayat Chairperson Amudharani Ravichandra, District Revenue Officer P. Chandrasekaran, and officials of various departments participated in the function.