The sale of palm products including 'thavuns' (an edible portion of palmyra plant seed) on the roadsides of southern districts of Tamil Nadu has picked up after the state Director General of Police C. Sylendra Babu directed the cops not to harass the vendors selling palm products on the streets.
Farmers of Palmyra palms are doubling up as street vendors and the season lasts for nearly three months. It takes 50 to 70 days for the farmers turned vendors to unearth quality 'thavuns.'
Most of the vendors who used to sell the 'thavuns' in Alangulam, Mahilvannathipuram, and Ramachandrapattinam have shifted to Tirunelveli as the tourist inflow to Courtallam has come down following Covid and the presence of Omicron variant.
Vendors in Tirunelveli while speaking to IANS said that they can take home around 500 to 700 rupees per day if they do a roadside sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. after spending on fuel charges and two-time meals.
M. Kumar, a vendor from Tirunelveli who is a farmer of Palmyra palm crops turned vendor while speaking to IANS said: "Yes we get around Rs 400 to Rs 700 per day after our expenses including food and fuel and this is more than enough for our village life. The Tamil Nadu DGP has turned saviour for all of the palm vendors as police used to harass us when we sell 'thavuns' on the streets. The public statement of the DGP has led to the policemen being soft on us and this has helped picking the sale."
Vendors of palm crops now want the state government to organise special camps to register the palm tree workers under the welfare board of the labour department. Officials are of the opinion that the workers can directly register with the Tamil Nadu Palm tree workers welfare board online.
Several regular customers in Tirunelveli said that they don't bargain with the 'thavun' vendors. K.S. Sudharajan who is a businessman from Tirunelveli while speaking to IANS said: "The vendors are selling 15 'thavuns' wrapped in palm leaves for Rs 50 and I don't bargain with them. They are poor people and they are selling these tasty products with all the warmth."