Drought looming large, minister looks to rain god for helpJune 23rd, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, June 23 (IANS) Worried about the delay in the monsoon and the prospect of drought, Chhattisgarh’s Agriculture Minister Chandrasekhar Sahu performed a ‘Varun Yagna’, a fire ritual to appease the rain god Varun Dev, and is sure his prayers will be answered.
Sahu and his wife performed the yagna at the historic Budheshwar Mahadev temple here. The lengthy ritual, conducted to the tune of Vedic hymns chanted by a group of 11 priests, was watched by dozens of workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
It is only the latest in a series of such yagnas being held almost every day by worried farmers of the state, called the rice bowl of the country.
“Normally the state receives the first monsoon showers in the first week of June but there is no sign of the arrival of the monsoon and temperatures are beyond 44 degrees Celsius. I am sure Varun Dev will listen to my prayers,” the minister told reporters Tuesday.
He added that the rain was desperately needed for farmers who grow four million tonnes of paddy in a single kharif season.
Last week, the state government had announced the extension of summer vacations in schools following the unabated heat wave across the state and an acute drinking water crisis.
The education department said in a letter that the school summer vacations, which began April 25 and were scheduled to end June 15, would now be extended till June-end. All government-run and government-aided schools are now scheduled to reopen July 1.
The letter explained that the move had to be taken in view of the scorching heat and the severe drinking water crisis. The majority of hand pumps installed in schools had run dry as the water level had gone down considerably due to the delay in the rains.
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Tags: agriculture minister, chandrasekhar, drinking water, drought, education department, fire ritual, government aided schools, hand pumps, heat wave, kharif season, monsoon showers, paddy, rice bowl, sahu, summer vacations, varun, vedic hymns, water crisis, water level, yagnas