Chittilamchery: There is a buzz on the paddy fields in the Palakkad district with the arrival of monsoon early this month. But the farmers are anxious as rains are playing hide and seek in June, but this year the signs are ominous. Moreover, there is a shortage of farm hands which is being addressed by drafting migrant labourers.
Paddy saplings in many fields are on the verge of wilting as the lack of rains delayed their transplanting with the end of the traditional agricultural phase called the Makayiram Njaattuvela and the beginning of Thiruvathira Njattuvela. Already dry spell marked the first 12 days of Makayiram Njattuvela.
Since the beginning of the Thiruvathira Njattuvela coincided with day time this year, it is believed there could be low rainfall. According to traditional belief, the rain should pour down without a break (thiri muriyathe) during the Thiruvathira Njattuvela.
The delay in rain also led to the growth of weeds in the fields. But the shortage of local labour has been met with workers from other states. The labour shortage had also led to a delay in the first phase manuring of the 'podi vitha' crop as well.
To tide over the labour crunch, farmers in Palakkad villages like Chittilamchery demanded that the daily wage labourers usually employed under the National Rural Employment Generation Scheme should be deployed in the agriculture sector till the farming works of this season are over. Workers are required for weeding and the first phase of manuring had already been delayed here in the crucial farming season.
Njattuvela denotes agraraian phases based on Earth's rotation around Sun. "Njattu" means "Sun" and "Vela" means "Interval". Traditionnaly it is held there are 27 'njattuvelas'.