Signalling the end of winter, the water melons have flooded the city roads. The striped green fruit piled up in mounds are seen at every nook and corner. The traders have camped at vantage points in the city, and heaps of watermelons can be seen on the roads, including Kaleswara Rao Market, Ramesh Hospitals junction, Ayodhya Nagar, Siris area, and Bhavanipuram.

With Mahasivaratri festival coming to an end, mercury is on the rise and people feel sultry during the day-time. People take a respite by taking watermelons and tender coconuts on sale.

The watermelons are not only the first tangible signs of summer, they also signal the end of a particularly prolonged winter of discontent for vendors whose survival during the summer months spins on the fruit. A fruit which cost Rs. 20 last year is selling at Rs.30 this year. The price depends upon the size of the fruit, and touches Rs. 100 if it is considerably big.

“We are among the first vendors to stock up melons. We begin business when Sivaratri festivities are round the corner. The business is slowly picking up,” says Rajesh, a fruit vendor near K. R. Market. The sales is encouraging though the prices have gone up slightly. Growing awareness among people about the usefulness of consumption of fruits is helping in doing good business, he says.

Tamil Nadu is one of the sources of the fruit for the city. The fruit is cultivated on a large scale in Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa, Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts. As many as 65 to 75 lorries are arriving from Kadapa, Eluru and towns of Tamil Nadu like Arambakkam, Tandalam and Sattiveedu, with each weighing 5 kg to 20 kg. About 30 truckloads are distributed to retailers in and around Vijayawada, the remaining trucks go to Khammam, Kakinada, Gudivada, Mylavaram, Guntur and Nuzvid every day,” traders say.

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