Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Going NUTS

Going NUTS
The Kadalekayi Parishe is an annual celebration of the humble groundnut. Join the fun

Bangalore: Groundnuts attract people here every year, like creditors to a crumbling city bank. Keeping the tradition alive, the annual groundnut fair — Kadalekayi Parishe — made a grand start in the city on the last Monday of Karthika. Groundnut vendors at the fair, while clocking good sales on day one, also had stories from the other side of the celebrations.
All along Bull Temple Road, there were mounds of groundnuts. “But there are not enough groundnuts we could sell this year,’’ says Rajikrishna, a vendor. He looks forward to this fair to offset losses suffered through the year. Much of the regular sale this year has been affected by the rain. Further, the fair meant for farmers, now sees an increasing number of vendors. Raju is just one among the many here who purchased their bulk stock from the markets. Depending on the quality, these grounduts are sold at the fair at Rs 10-12 per ‘seru’ (about 930 grams).
Sources in the local MLA Ravi Subramanya’s office say this has been a trend for the past few years. “Many farmers prefer to sell their stock through these vendors,’’ they say. However, the aim is to get more farmers back into the fair. Even the plan to get in more products made of groundnut on sale has been postponed to next year due to paucity of time.
While this fair in Bangalore is seen as a potential market for groundnut sales, there is no yield from the city. Much of the cultivation happens in places like Tumkur, Chitradurga, Belgaum, parts of Kolar, Dharwad and Mysore. The state also get some supply from adjoining states like Andhra Pradesh (Anantapur) and Tamil Nadu. A few vendors also said that lack of rainfall in the past one month has affected the yield in a few places as groundnut cultivation requires ample rain.
Further, delayed sowing of seeds in a few places due to various reasons could have also affected the harvest. According to sources in the Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), there are plenty of high-yielding varieties of groundnuts but not many farmers prefer them. A majority of the state’s produce is for extracting oil. The main groundnut varieties grown in Karnataka are JL24, PMV2 and K134. Apart from these, the state has varieties like the TME2 and GPBD4. The approximate yield is 8-10 quintals per acre every season.
Ministers R Ashok and Katta Subramanya Naidu declared the fair open by offering groundnuts equal to the weight of a Nandi idol weighing 10 kg. The offering was made within the temple premises. Apart from the hectic sale at the stalls, hordes of devotees thronged the temple right from the entrance, waiting to offer their prayers.
Jointly organized by the endowment department and the BBMP, the fair this year also includes a host of cultural activities in parks and playgrounds nearby. This includes hasyotsava, sugama sangeetha and alongside, a Nandi Thepppotsava at Yediyur Lake on Tuesday. Close to Rs 12 lakh has been spent in organizing the event.
The response was mixed on the opening day. While a few like Entamma (80) managed to finish her temple visit and buying the groundnuts at the stalls for her house, there were a few like Nagesh who came from Jayanagar only to return with his family, upset over the haphazard arrangements. “We had no place to even stand and the crowd was unruly,’’ he said. The fair concludes on Tuesday.
More vendors than farmers show up at the fair
Bangalore has no major groundnut yield
Tumkur, Chitradurga and Dharwad among cultivating areas
Approximate yield of 8-10 quintals per acre, every season
Supplies also from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
Lack of rainfall has hit this year’s yield Stuff of legend
During the 15th century, this part of Basavanagudi was a village called Sunkenahalli, predominantly surrounded by groundnut fields. Legend has it that every year, Basava, a bull, would raid these fields and damage the crops just before the harvest. To stop him, the farmers decided to attack him with sticks.
They hatched a plan and waited at the spot. Basava came in and just as they were about to attack, he started running up to the hilltop and there right in from the villagers, he transformed himself into a stone idol. Ever since, people have made this offering their annual tribute, rather a fine, for their act. It is also believed that Basava also comes to the fair every year and enjoys his share of groundnuts.
Another legend has it the farmers gathered to offer prayers to Basava and pledged to offer groundnuts instead. Since then, this has been the annual tradition here. With time, it has also become an annual fair for farmers.
Bangalore: Get ready for a Bangalore Utsava in the name of Kempegowda next year, beginning on Karaga day. Minister for transport R Ashok announced this at the Kadalekayi Parishe 2008 on Monday.
This two-day fair is a long-living symbol of a tradition that’s survived for almost four centuries. No other habba has attracted such a crowd, he said. The aim is to make Bangalore Utsava a similar success. He called it an attempt to preserve the rich heritage and monuments left behind by Kempegowda and to ensure that Bangalore still remains the city he visioned.
“Many of Kempegowda’s lakes might have been destroyed. But the government will realize his vision for Bangalore,’’ he said.
There are plans to rejuvenate several lakes in the city. The Kempambudhi lake in Gavipura, named after Kempegowda’s family deity Kempadevi, and the park adjacent to it will also be renovated as a tribute to the man and his vision, he said. The government is also looking at instituting an award in his name.
Also present at the event, minister for IT/BT and BWSSB Katta Subramanya Naidu said the government is committed to completing development works at Bull Temple and Kempambudhi lake.


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