Intermittent rain on Saturday hampers festival shopping; Meteorological Department predicts thunderstorms with rain today

Intermittent rain on Saturday cooled off Onam fever in the city. Kochi received 9 mm of rain over 24 hours and vendors of Onam goodies bore the brunt of the weather. The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted thunderstorms with rain on Sunday for Kochi, which was not its usual festive self on Saturday.

The usual week-end traffic jams were confined to the arterial roads within the city. The National Highway 47, which now bypasses the city, had heavy traffic but no jams. Kochiites appeared to have left the city for the weekend and for Monday’s Thiruvonam celebrations.

The Civil Station Road, especially the stretch between Alinchuvadu and Vazhakkala, saw considerable traffic blocks in the morning and late afternoon hours when rain appeared to relent a little.

The stretch of National Highway between HMT Junction and North Kalamassery too was congested and traffic holdups continued for several hours in the late afternoon. But traffic normalised during the later hours.

The TD Road and Durbar Hall grounds area were filled with Onam shoppers. So was Broadway. However, the Ernakulam wholesale and main retail market saw reduced activities largely because of rain.

Market Stall Owners’ Association president N.H. Shameed said rain had played a role in reducing wholesale vegetables sales by about 30 per cent on Saturday. The market remained cool, he said and pointed to ample supplies of important vegetables.

Despite the Onam shopping, vegetable prices did not spurt and held the level they have since early last week, he said.

However, white goods, textiles and readymade garment sellers were buoyed by day’s developments. Though rain appeared to affect shoppers in the morning hours, the footfalls increased considerably by afternoon, said a textiles shop manager on MG Road.

A white goods retailer near Edappally said the traffic holdup near the signal junction on National Highway 47 and rain did not put off shoppers as was seen from the afternoon. Sales have picked up momentum since the afternoon of Friday.

However, Rajesh from Kangarappady and Yesuraj from Walayar, Palakkad, had a different story to tell. Rajesh is selling ‘Onathappan’, clay models that are central to the traditional Onam festivities. He was selling the clay models in the open near Palarivattam junction. Sales were been poor throughout the day, he said.

Yesuraj is a vendor, who has procured Rs.20,000 worth of flowers from Coimbatore. The heavy rain on Saturday spoiled his chances of making enough money and the trip worth all the effort, he said.

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