Prices of clay pot, oven, sugarcane, turmeric plant, and jaggery have shot up

The prices of Pongal festival items have registered a rise in both urban and rural markets. But, undeterred by the price hike, people are thronging Gandhi Market and other major marketing places for purchasing clay pot, clay oven, sugarcane, turmeric plant, and jaggery among others.

The sale of sugarcane has improved compared to last year. Retail dealers have taken precautionary measures in purchasing the produce from farmers in the villages commensurate with the demand. R. Ramachandran from Kallukuzhi, who has been in this business for the past six years, says he has bought 150 bundles of cane from Tiruvalarcholai at Rs. 200 each, and he sells them for Rs. 300.

The saving grace for him is that he transported the cane to the city by his own vehicle. Although he has been purchasing the cane from Tirukkattupalli in the previous years, he shifted it to Tiruvalarcholai this year to minimise the transport expenditure. Further, the quality of cane is better at Tiruvalarcholai.

Lakshmi, another trader, says she has brought the cane from Mayiladuthurai, but the demand is not up to her expectations till Monday evening because of high cost. “I had brought quality and fully-grown cane from Mayiladuthurai. Though the price of cane is high, many prefer low-priced cane,” she says.

Pongal Manja Kothu is being sold at different rates. Each plant is priced anywhere between Rs. 10 and Rs. 30 depending on the marketing prospects. At Thillai Nagar, the plant is sold for Rs. 15 while at the central bus stand, it is Rs. 10. Thavamani, a dealer at the central bus stand, says although she had bought five bundles of manja kothu at a cost of Rs. 30 each, she could sell only two bundles till late Monday afternoon. She is worried about the few takers this season.

Clay pots too have become dearer. A pot sold for between Rs. 35 and Rs. 40 last year, now costs Rs. 60, while clay aduppu (stove) has shot up from Rs. 70 last year to Rs. 110. Lack of craftsmen and conventional potters has led to the present situation, says R. Periasamy (70), who has been selling Pongal pots and ovens for the past 18 years near Sethuraman Pillai colony.