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Wheels fall off for pot makers

L. Renganathan
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Paucity of clay and red soil along with rain tell on production

potpourri of woes: A woman potter drying up earthen pots at the yard of her house at Lalapet in Karur district.
potpourri of woes: A woman potter drying up earthen pots at the yard of her house at Lalapet in Karur district.

The scarcity of clay soil and red soil, ingredients for earthen pots, has put a spanner in the works of the hundreds of manufacturers from the district pushing the price of these materials into new peaks.

The cascading effect is on the families who plan to boil new rice in these pots and offer to the Sun as a mark of celebration this Pongal.

Making of earthen pots has been the tradition for many families in Karur town, Lalapet, Veerarakkiam, Chinnamanaicken Palayam and Noyyal. Pots arrive in cartloads from neighbouring Namakkal, Thathiengarpet, Thuraiyur and Kodumudi to meet the demand.

Now, Karur potters have to shell out hefty amount for clay soil from Panjapatti while the expenditure of transporting the polishing red soil from Keezhapazhuvur in Ariyalur district cost them an arm and leg.

Much to their consternation, dried sugar cane leafy crowns, which were hitherto free as waste, has acquired a price tag of Rs. 1,500, says a potter P. Murugesan of Lalapet.

Besides, the recent incessant rain across the State has contributed to the scarcity of proper soil and spelt trouble for those who were early birds in preparing the Pongal season pots.

The pottery season that should have started by November has been forced back by a month-and-a-half.

Soil shortage, reduced output, increasing wages, inflation, high freight charges and rain have spurred the price rise of Rs. 5 a piece.

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