Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurates Onam Week celebrations

The city has geared up for the most-awaited festival in the State. Aside from the obvious, such as the illumination arrangements and the carnival-like atmosphere prevailing around Kanakakkunnu Palace and the Museum grounds, a whole host of cultural programmes have been arranged by the Department of Tourism for the city on the occasion. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the week-long festivities, which will take place at 26 venues until September 3, on Tuesday at the Chandrasekharan Nair stadium.

Not a spot was left unoccupied either by the sheer mass of people swarming the streets by Tuesday evening or the street vendors with their vibrant wares. Also evident was the heightened security, with police personnel placed every few metres at crowded locations.

Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar inaugurated a media centre at Kanakakkunnu. While people looked set to have a good time, the vendors around Kanakakkunnu area did not share the festive cheer. Muthu, who comes from Nagercoil to the city for the past 15 years during the season complained that it was close to impossible to find a decent spot to sell his wares.

“I have been shunned to this unseen corner by the police and I do not know when I will be moved from here as well,” he grumbled. Others in the same area have taken it in their stride. Fatima from Beemapally is grateful that this area is not as jam-packed as the East Fort area. “There is no place to even stand there,” she said.