BALANGIR: Nuakhai, a major festival of western Odisha, holds no charm for farmers of the district this year.The farmers are in distress owing to delayed onset of monsoon. It is apprehended that the district, infamous for labour migration, is all set to witness a significant rise in the phenomenon this year. Inadequate rainfall has raised fear of drought in several blocks of the district. With their land lying unutilised, the farmers of the region are in distress.
Sources said owing to inadequate rainfall in July, farm operations like transplanting and beusaning of paddy were adversely affected. With sporadic rainfall this month, farm operations are being carried out on a few patches of agricultural land. However, shortage of water despite a few water bodies filled to the brim, has also emerged as a major cause of concern for the farmers.
Due to deficient rain, transplanting and beusaning of paddy was delayed in Bangomunda, Muribahal, Belpada and Titilagarh blocks. Sources said seedlings on the nursery beds have been hit by stunted growth. Kirtan Bhoi, a farmer of Bangomunda block said this year the rain pattern has been erratic and the showers this month will not help farmers. Another farmer, Gobardhan Sahu of Turekela block said this year migration from the block will be rampant. He said Nuakhai festival holds no charm for agriculturists in his area.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Balangir Sridhara Dash said the situation has been improving after rainfall this month. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation,” he said. Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha. This year, the festival will be celebrated on August 26.
SAMBALPUR: Priests of Sambalpur on Saturday finalised the stipulated Lagna (auspicious moment) of Nuakhai on the occasion of Nandautsav. The ‘Navanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur district, between 10.05 am and 10.20 am, on September 3 this year. During the period, households of the district will offer ‘Navanna’ to their presiding deity and Goddess Laxmi as a mark of gratitude for a bumper harvest, good rain and favourable weather for farming.