Kandhamal: This is the season for mahula (mahua) flowers. It’s that time of the year when thousands of tribal women of Odisha’s Kandhamal district go out every morning, braving the scorching heat, to collect mahula flowers.
Last year, they faced problems in collecting and selling mahula flowers because of the coronavirus pandemic. They were hoping for better luck this year, but the second wave of COVID-19 has set in and the price of mahula flower has gone down.
Mahula flowers generally start blooming from the end of February or beginning of March. The women from Phulbani and other places venture out to forest areas to collect mahula, some taking their children along as there’s none to look after them at home.
After collecting mahula, the women leave the flowers to dry. The weight of the dry flowers automatically decrease by about 50 per cent.
On an average, a woman collects 5 to 7 kg of mahula in a day. Their selling price this year is Rs 20 to 25 per kg.
Apart from selling, the tribal people make pancake from dry mahula. It is also used to feed cows.
Panchayat Samiti Chairman Prakash Chandra Patra is aware of mahula’s falling price.
“We are trying to ensure mahula collectors get more profit. We will take action against those who do illegal mahula business,” Patra said.