//Chhattisgarh minister claims to be a 'rain man'

Chhattisgarh minister claims to be a 'rain man'

By Indo Asian News Service

Raipur, July 3 (IANS) A Chhattisgarh minister Monday claimed a 'yagna' (ritual) hosted by him had brought rains to the state by appeasing the Hindu rain god Varuna.

Agriculture Minister Nankiram Kanwar, who began the three-day 'yagna' Saturday with 11 priests at his official bungalow, said: 'Sacred sounds and strength of Vedic hymns have pleased god Varuna.'

The weather department Monday said the state had received heavy monsoon showers and predicted rains for the next couple of days.

'Being the agriculture minister, I was extremely concerned of the endless dry spell in the state. I had no option but to go for a 'yagna' to please the rain god and save farmers from doom,' Kanwar told IANS.

Chhattisgarh, known as India's rice bowl, has been facing drought-like situations for the past three years as monsoons have eluded the state's rice producing zone comprising Raipur, Durg, Dhamatri, Bilaspur, Rajanandgaon and Kawardha districts.

Though, Chhattisgarh has 23 percent of India's iron ore deposits and 18 percent of coal reserves, nearly 80 percent of the state's 20 million people are dependent on agriculture.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service