L. Renganathan

Tiny milk conch and white plastic garlands for cattle sold at Rs.10

KARUR: Pongal for Karur people this year might be a pinch salty beyond the sweetness that is associated with the delicacy always.

With commodities and articles from rice and sugarcane to “Netti Malai” and rope that adorn cattle on the occasion of the ‘Mattu Pongal,’ things have turned dearer dampening the spirits of the masses who could buy just that much with the money in their hands.

A festive mood pervades the third week of January and people would be eagerly expecting the arrival of the festive season.

Following up on the New Year and Christmas, the prices of commodities are regularly on the high. One reason or the other is usually attributed to small price rise of commodities.

But this year it has been a tiresome deal for the masses, especially the peasants and the people from the rural areas who are amazed at the rise in price of articles that they usually deal with.

“Something must be wrong or how could you explain the rise in price of sugarcane which is being sold for Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 a cane?” wonders V. Somanathan of Porani shopping at the Puliyur market for the ensuing Pongal.

“We farmers are demanding that the government announce a support price of Rs. 2,000 a quintal for sugarcane but nothing has been done so far while here at the market one cane is being sold for Rs. 25 and Rs. 30. Please note the anomaly,” he observes.

Decoration articles

Purchasing articles to decorate his cattle C. Palanisamy (62) of Vettamangalam cannot stop being amazed to recheck the price of things he has come to buy at the Jawahar Bazar here on the eve of Pongal celebrations.

What stumped him was the price of small white plastic garlands for his cattle quoted at Rs. 10 and the coloured ones that were being sold for Rs. 15 per piece.

The bigger garlands were being sold for Rs. 25 apiece. Even the tiny white milk conch that the villagers tie with black rope around the neck of the cattle was being sold for Rs. 10 while the pavement traders were selling salangai for Rs. 4 apiece.

This is turning out to be a costly Mattu Pongal indeed, he remarks and justifies wryly the rising costs reasoning that even the price of cattle has gone up considerably and so would be the articles to decorate the costlier cattle.

“I purchased small garlands for Rs. 10 a pair for the last Pongal.

Even the bigger garlands were sold for Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 only last year.”

Worse even the whip has become dearer, Mr. Palanisamy notes wondering what would be in store for him at the flower bazar.

As the cows, bulls and the oxen get ready to don their masters’ favourite party colours on the horns, the Pongal bazaar gets livelier.

Difficult to grip

One could hear a lot of murmurs on rising price of articles in the bazaar but the reality was that every one had to settle for the same with little bargaining space for the seller and the buyer with each seller attributing the rise to the all-round increase in prices.

But for the farmers, coming to grips with the ground reality was a bit difficult as they were seen returning home calculating their returns from the agricultural produce and the expenditure they incur on other things.

The twain shall never meet, was the unspoken word.