MADURAI: Heavy rains pounded Kodaikanal, a hill station in Dindigul district, causing damage at Savarikadu on Palani Road on Wednesday. However, farmers relying on plantation crops are delighted as it could help improve their yield.
The rains started from Tuesday evening and showered 234.6 mm, which could be the highest ever in the history of Kodaikanal, till Wednesday morning, sources said. A portion of road, which leads down to Palani from the hill station, caved in at the 13th hairpin bend halting heavy vehicles movement. Restoration works were taken up by the Highways Department.
Kodaikanal Tahsildar A Muthuraman said it may take two or three days to completely restore and reopen vehicular traffic. Currently, two-wheelers could access the Palani Road. Since restoration works are underway, traffic was blocked at Palani Adivaram and at Perumalmalai Hills.
The rains uprooted a tree at Poolathur and power supply was suspended as a precautionary measure at night hours, he said.
Woes apart, a delighted farmer TVSN Veera Arasu from Pattiveeranpatti, who owns a plantation at Kaanal Kadu near Thandikudi, said, the heavy rain especially along lower Palani hills was considered ‘Godsend.’ “Normally, the days of July and August experience dry spells, but this year it rained at frequent intervals during these months benefiting coffee growers. The timely rains would help the coffee beans mature and a bumper yield is expected this time,” he said. Arasu added that there’s an old saying ‘Aadi pattam thedi vithai’ and the rains seem to be helping now. “Since plantation sites are in sloppy areas, the rainfall did not cause inundation. The average annual rainfall along lower Palani hills is 60 inches, mostly from the northeast monsoon. But, even before the onset of NE monsoon, 43 inches of rainfall has so far been recorded,” Arasu told DT Next.
With good rains, plantation crops, including coffee, pepper, banana and avocado that are significantly grown in Perumalmalai, Thandikudi, Adalur, KC Patti, Pachalur, Poolathur and Panrimalai could yield more. Even if it did not rain the next year, soil moisture retention could be maintained, he said.
Kodaikanal Deputy Director of Horticulture T Pandiyarajan, when contacted, said some vegetable crops such as carrot, garlic, potatoes and beans suffered yield loss on 107 ha following rains along upper Palani hills a couple of days ago. The recent rainfall at Bryant Park and Rose Garden recorded 240 mm and 175 mm, respectively, he added.