Say pandemic has dampened Parishe spirit
Kadlekai Parishe, Bengaluru’s annual groundnut fair, began with much enthusiasm on Monday. After it was cancelledlast year because of Covid concerns, visitors alike were excited to participate in it.
While the fair appeared to be in full swing, sellers didn’t seem to experience the liveliness of the old.
Mangamma, a vendor from Kalasipalya, said: “We have been coming here from my grandfather’s time. I took up selling groundnuts from my mother. But prices have soared now. We get it from the market for Rs 80, and come and sell it here for Rs 100.”
Another vendor, Nagalakshmi, said:“We’re mostly not getting buyers after Covid. People are here, but they aren’t buying much. But maybe it will increase tomorrow.”
The fair attracted multiple vendors from Tamil Nadu.
Chennasami, a groundnut farmer from Hosur, said he isn’t optimistic about the sales this year due to soaring costs. “I barely make an extra Rs 5 on each kilo I sell. It’s actually not very profitable for me to sell here, so I don’t know what to do. The crowd is thin, and the ones that have come aren’t even buying much. The only reason we’re here is because there is no such festival to sell our products back at home.”
Manjual M, a frequent visitor, agreed that the footfalls are less than in the past. “Comparatively, yes…the people are less here. Even I came here just to look around.I might buy a little groundnuts and trinkets here and there. I do not want to stay in the crowds,” she said.
BBMP commissioner Gaurav Gupta was the chief guest. Among the guests were Rakesh Singh, IAS, BBMP administrativeofficer, health officer Shivakumar, and Special Commissioner (Finance)Tulsi Madinneni. . The function was inaugurated at around 11.15 am.
BBMP’s Basavanagudi supervisor Rajendra said more than 15 marshals were deployed, with social distancing measures undertaken. Plastic bags were not allowed.
Police official K.S. Sreenivas said they expect around 2 lakh visitors and about 2,000 vendors, in a span of two to three days of the festival. He however mentioned that the number of visitors earlier used to be around 6 lakh .
Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya told reporters: “More than a lakh people have visited since yesterday, more will be coming tomorrow and the day after. It is a fair to enjoy the traditions and culture.” He encouraged visitors to bring their own bags, wear masks and engage in Covid-appropriate behaviour.