Floral prices moving in an upward spiral has become less common this Onam season. In fact, the market seems to be ruled by fluctuating prices, leaving the customers in the lurch.
Chalai bazaar, the first and foremost floral market in the city, may disappoint the customers this time. Varieties that are high in demand for making ‘pookkalams’ such as Nerium (Arali), Globe Amaranth (Vadamalli), Marigold (Jamanthi), rose and jasmine have assured their place in the fluctuating price list. For a kilogram of Nerium and rose the price ranges between Rs 80 and Rs 200 in different shops. Last year, the price for Nerium was Rs 140 per/kg.
Globe Amaranth, the most sought-after variety for making ‘pookkalams’, is available at prices ranging between Rs 40 and Rs 100. Marigold is priced between Rs 40 and Rs 200.
Get ready to pay up to Rs 800 if you are so fond of filling the ‘pookkalam’ with the sweet-scented jasmine flowers. Depending on the situation, one may get the flowers for Rs 500 too. Last year also, jasmine was the ‘richest’ among the flowers, and was priced at Rs 400 a kilo.
Underscoring this uncertainty in price levels was the response from a flower merchant. He, who initially put a price of Rs 700 for a kilogram of jasmine, offered a ‘discount’ of Rs 100 later, so that the buyer needed to pay ‘only’ Rs 600.
Asked whether the price would remain the same throughout the season, many sellers admit that it may see an increase in the coming days. “The Onam celebrations at schools, colleges, institutions and other organisations would be held in the next few days. And it is sure that demand for flowers too would increase with that. This, in turn, would lead to a scarcity in the availability of flowers at places from where they are sourced and the sales and rates can be expected to go upwards,” said Rajesh Nair, salesman at a flower shop in Chalai.
A majority of flowers come from places like Thovala, Madurai, Dindigul and Bangalore.
Arya S Chand, a teacher education student in the city said, “we collect a fixed amount from all students in the institution to make ‘pookkalam.’ Though there would be an increase in prices for flowers, we cannot keep away from buying certain varieties. The uncertainty in price range is sure to put us in trouble.”