The maximum temperature on Sunday will be 36 degree Celsius. Imagine a power cut in that heat. With the city and suburbs facing severe power shortage, residents are now turning to pana olai visiri or hand-held fans made of palm leaves.

“I am used to not having electricity. We use newspapers and visiri,” said K. Gopalan, a 74-year-old resident of Perambur. Palm leaf fans are sold in market places and shops that sell puja items. Fan makers from Kancheepuram and Tiruvannamalai districts supply their wares to these shops.

Kanakasabai Pattupandaram, a 73-year-old visiri maker of Balli village near Kancheepuram has been making them since he was 18. “I make visiri during the summer and the rest of the year, I work in the fields,” he said. He makes up to 50 fans a day and sells them at Rs. 7-Rs. 8 a piece in shops in Kancheepuram, Arcot, Arani, Chennai and Cheyyar.

“Visiris that were pricedat Rs. 10-Rs. 15 a piece are now being sold at Rs. 20-Rs. 25,” said Viji Ashok of Srividya Nilayam, a shop that sells puja items in Mylapore.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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