On Ugadi, don’t gamble with your life, say police.

Express News Service

MYSURU: The coronavirus scare has taken the fun out of Ugadi, a festival synonymous with gambling and card games. For at least two days following the festival, people gamble in villages, in school buildings, farms and even under trees. But in many villages, headmen have appealed to people to avoid crowding and not to gamble, citing the government advisory. Local police and revenue officials face the challenge of stopping gambling, checking the sale of liquor and meat.

Although it is illegal, police officials turn a blind eye to gambling as they don’t want to come in the way of their festival tradition. In a few villages, it is a repeat of Holi as people play with colours and take out processions to welcome the new year.

The first day of Ugadi celebrations begins with pujas, followed by a feast of holige and non-vegetarian dishes. This year, with an informal ban on the sale of chicken and meat, the festival has lost its flavour too, say some villagers.

Meanwhile, visiting native villages for Ugadi celebrations is no more a joy as fellow villagers are gripped by panic over coronavirus and are aware of the increasing number of positive cases in Bengaluru and Mysuru. They want all visitors from the cities to be screened.

This is evident in the villages of Rampura, Hanur and other villages in Mysuru and Chamrajanagar districts, where people are keeping a safe distance from relatives and friends.

The district administration has banned inter-state bus services and blocked all seven inter-state roads connecting Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Deputy Commissioner MR Ravi has banned movement between taluks and ordered the screening of people along state borders.

Farmers dump flowers
Mysuru: The lockdown has hit farmers in the district hard. Farmers from Mysuru, Mandya and Chamraj-nagar districts, who turned up with sacks of flowers on the eve of Ugadi hoping to make a profit, dumped the flowers on the streets when they realised that they would incur losses.

Tumakuru markets see big rush
Tumakuru: Citizens came out early on Tuesday in large numbers to buy things for the festival. Business was brisk at Siddhi-vinayaka Market as thousands thronged the flower section. The grocery shops on the Mandipete area also did a lot of business.

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