Farming activities in rural Tamil Nadu have resumed with paddy transplantation for the season’s second crop. There was one major difference this year, though. The farmers, too, have taken the basic precaution against corona by wearing masks while in the fields. And they are also practising social distancing during the activity proving the message has indeed percolated the villages as well.
“Our village head explained the need to wear masks and also maintain at least two arms’ length between every person on the field to protect us from contracting corona. He also pointed out that since testing was not possible in villages, we may not know who is carrying the disease. The best way is to protect ourselves,” explained 40-year-old Kannamma, who was transplanting seedlings along with other women of her village near Periyakulam in Theni district.
While a few wore masks procured from medical shops in Theni, others wore the ones prepared from old sarees by a local self-help group. They were advised to use the masks after washing thoroughly and sun drying for a couple of days.
According to an official of the state rural development department, all the workers under MNREGA have also been advised to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Though the state’s villages have not reported any corona positive cases so far, there is a possibility of someone returning home carrying the virus. “Till testing becomes more widespread, we are advising villagers, especially farmworkers, to take these precautions since only if they are fit they can go to work,” he pointed out.