Desperate Andhra government turns to god for rains

June 23rd, 2009 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 23 (IANS) As Andhra Pradesh continues to swelter under heat and faces the threat of drought, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Tuesday appealed to Hindus, Muslims and Christians to hold special prayers for rains.
Nearly three weeks after the southwest monsoon set in, the state has not received rains and the scorching heat continues, pushing the mercury five to six degrees Celsius above the average. This has forced the chief minister to turn to rain gods for the second consecutive year.

However, unlike last year when the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) held a three-day ‘maha varuna yagnam’ to propitiate rain gods, the chief minister this year has also turned to religious leaders of Muslims and Christians, urging them to hold special prayers.

He asked the endowments department and minority welfare department to make all arrangements for special prayers in temples, mosques and churches.

Minister for Endowments Gade Venkat Reddy told reporters that ‘varuna yagnas’ will be held for three to five days in all major temples. ‘Sahasra Ghatabhishekam’ will also be performed in all Shiva temples.

The TTD, which manages the affairs of the famous Tirumala temple, has been asked to conduct ‘yagnas’ at as many places as possible. Last year, the TTD performed the unique ritual in Hyderabad with the participation of 105 priests.

Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, whose Congress party retained power in the elections in April, has often claimed that his government has the blessings of god as the state has been receiving good rains for last five years.

The delay in rains this year has worried the farmers and authorities. The meteorology department said that though the monsoon set in early, on June 5, in the state, there was hardly any progress since.

Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur and other major cities are witnessing an extended summer with temperature hovering between 40 and 42 degrees Celsius.

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