Representational Image| Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives
Kochi: Flower sellers in Kochi are facing hardships during an otherwise profitable Onam festival season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Onam festival season, the flower market of Kochi sees huge demand as floral carpets are used in offices, shops, companies, educational institutions and households.
But due to the increasing trajectory of Covid cases in the state, people are reluctant to buy flowers for making 'Pookkalam' from these vendors.
This has adversely affected the business of these vendors for the second consecutive year, that too during their best season for sales. Street sellers have been affected the most.
"I have been selling flowers in Onam for three years. But for the first time, there is no trade at all in this season. This time I started selling flowers four days before usual. But I don't even get money to have a single cup of tea," said Meenakshi, a street seller.
Ramatha, another street seller said: "It has only been two days since the selling started. I am not getting enough money to afford food. People are not coming. Onam usually has good sales. But there are no sales this time due to the pandemic."
"Sales are much lower than ever, street vendors get good sales during Onam. But they are not getting sales this time, not even half of the usual business. I purchase flowers from Tamil Nadu's Madurai and Coimbatore mainly. But this time, I am not purchasing that much. The rates were halved there due to Covid," said a wholesale flower dealer named Anil.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 1,79,155 active cases of Covid-19 in Kerala.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in the state. The date is based on the Panchangam which falls on the 22nd Nakshatra Thiruvonam in the month Chingam of Malayalam calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar falls between August-September.