Markets, shops get fresh stock; sales of raw rice, jaggery, cashews and ghee pick up ahead of festival
With Pongal around the corner, rice wholesalers in the city have started distributing fresh raw rice to retail outlets.
The rice market at Red Hills has been receiving 200 tonnes of rice every day from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, for the past week.
D. Thulasingam, president of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners and Paddy-Rice Dealers Association, said the paddy market has also started getting fresh stock.
Many families like those of Virugambakkam resident Leela A. Chezhian, buy rice, jaggery, cashews, ghee, cardamom and raisins for the festival. “Even though we generally have these provisions at home, we buy them specifically for use for the festival. It’s a family tradition,” she said.
Recently-harvested raw rice is used to make pongal, as it is most suited for the rice preparation. This rice becomes sticky and can be mashed easily, which is suitable for making pongal.
Wholesalers are now selling new raw rice for pongal at Rs. 24/kg. In the retail market, raw rice is being sold for between Rs. 30-Rs. 45/kg. Jaggery is being sold at Rs. 46-Rs. 50/kg.
S. Antonyraj, a jaggery wholesaler at Padi said that he purchases jaggery from Salem. “I buy it in 31-kg bags that are called sippam, and priced at Rs. 1,400-1,500. The dark brown variety of jaggery is most suitable for making sweet pongal,” he explained.
The prices of the other items that are a must during the festive season are: cashew at Rs. 550/kg; cardamom (5 grams) for Rs. 9; ghee (50 grams) at Rs. 24; pepper (50 grams) at Rs. 30, raisins (50 grams) at Rs. 8 and jeera (50 grams) at Rs. 11.
Apart from these items, residents also buy clay pots and even gas stoves on the occasion. Newly married couple M. Sarathkumar and S. Priyadarsini bought a new gas stove for the festival. “We will inaugurate it on Pongal,” said Mr. Sarathkumar, who will buy a clay pot a day before Pongal.