Pre-monsoon showers bring cheers; hits salt production in Thoothukudi

Published - May 15, 2024 07:29 pm IST - TIRUNELVELI

Water stagnation at Thiruvananthapuram Road in Vannarpettai after heavy rain lashed Tirunelveli on Wednesday.

Water stagnation at Thiruvananthapuram Road in Vannarpettai after heavy rain lashed Tirunelveli on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SHAIKMOHIDEEN A

Even as the Regional Meteorological Centre issued heavy to very heavy rainfall for the four southern districts till May 19, Tirunelveli district experienced isolated rainfall on Wednesday afternoon.

 After remaining cloudy in the forenoon, slight drizzle started around 2 p.m. and it started raining heavily in some parts of Palayamkottai and Tirunelveli till 2.45 p.m. to record 28 mm precipitation in Palayamkottai while Tirunelveli got 15 mm rainfall.

 However, places like Ambasamudram, Cheranmahadevi, Manimuthar and Nanguneri had to be content with just a drizzle.

 Since the weather forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall has been issued for Tirunelveli district till May 19, public should not seek shelter under the trees during rain and should not go near the electric poles and waterbodies, District Collector K.P. Karthikeyan has cautioned.

 In Kanniyakumari district, where the pre-monsoon showers have already started, places like Thirparappu (45 mm), Kaliyal (35 mm), Petchipaarai Dam (16 mm) and Chittar II (14 mm) recorded decent rainfall while all other places experienced only a drizzle on Wednesday.

 Tenkasi District Collector A.K. Kamal Kishore has appealed to the public to contact 1077 or 04633 – 290548 in case of rain-related damages.

 Thoothukudi district that experienced widespread rainfall on Tuesday recorded decent rainfall at Srivaikundam (39 mm), Kazhugumalai (30 mm) and Kovilpatti (25 mm) on Wednesday.

 The unseasonal rain, which has given much-needed relief to the residents after weeks of soaring heat, has played spoilsport for Thoothukudi salt manufacturers. While the sweltering heat took salt production to a high within a short duration after the mid-December heavy downpour, the pre-monsoon showers have badly affected salt production that started on belated note in April last.

 As mid-December downpour had created havoc in the saltpans, the manufacturers, who would usually restart salt production in February every year after the northeast monsoon, could start the production only in April after bringing the damaged saltpans back to shape. Even as the ‘first salt’ of the season which is in a brownish white colour is being harvested, the unseasonal rains have badly affected the salt production again.

 “The rain that lashed Thoothukudi and its suburbs on Tuesday has caused water stagnation in the saltpans, the salt production has come to a halt. It will take another 10 days to resume production if there is no rain in the days to come. Even though one tonne salt is being purchased at ₹4,000, we don’t have sufficient stocks due to rains. So, Thoothukudi district, which would produce 25 lakh tonnes of salt annually will produce only 50% of it,” says A.R.A.S. Dhanapalan, a salt manufacturer.

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