Tamil Nadu

Monsoon failure dampens Pongal spirit


Paddy crop on 1.26 lakh hectares in the district had withered


Farmers celebrated Pongal, the harvest festival, with a somehow dampened spirit on Sunday, as the northeast monsoon failed for the second successive year, resulting in withering of paddy crop on 1.26 lakh hectares in the district.

More than one lakh farmers had raised paddy crop in the rain-fed areas and the loss was almost total. The farmers, however, continued with the tradition of celebrating the festival.

They wore new clothes, decorated their front yards with colourful kolams and gave a fresh coat of paints to their houses. On the occasion of Mattu Pongal on Monday, they gave bath to their cattle, painted their horns and adorned them with garlands of sugarcane and rice delicacies.

The farmers would usually prepare pongal with freshly harvested rice grains, but this year they bought rice from shops and celebrated the festival.

“The cheer was missing and the celebration was a mere ritual,” said advocate M. Somasundaram, who led the Pongal festivities, held at Nambayee Valasai by Rotary Club of Uchipulli on Sunday. The club conducted sports events and competitions, and distributed prizes to winners, he said.

The pomp was missing in Thiruvadanai block, considered the rice bowl of the district, as paddy cultivated on about 45,000 hectares there had withered.

In some villages, the farmers cooked Pongal in front of local temples and let loose their cattle.

Silver jubilee Pongal festival was organised at Aruoli Vinayakar Temple in Vazhuthur. Sports events and competitions were organised for children and the youth on the occasion. Annadhanam was served to the people.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:06:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/monsoon-failure-dampens-pongal-spirit-ramanathapuram/article22444395.ece

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