Of the 68 merchants, only 12 are currently operating; Sattara street remains the hot spot

Daily flower market in Srirangam inaugurated on January 18 this year seems to have belied the hopes of small-time flower dealers.

The market that was inaugurated after a two-year delay since its construction was mainly to de-congest the overcrowded Sattara street in Srirangam where various flower traders and allied labourers, particularly garland makers, apart from wholesale units are located. The daily market constructed by Tiruchirapalli City Corporation is not far away from the Sattara street.

The traders on the Sattara street include a mix of various dealers and they have been in the trade for several decades. Commission agents run wholesale units.

They procure flowers from growers directly and sell it to retail vendors. Some of them own their houses on the Sattara street and utilise the front portion for their business. The street also accounts for allied trades – small-time merchants selling 'thulasi', dried banana fibre bundles, and garland labourers.

Over the years, the strength of traders and allied workers got increased on the narrow street resulting in encroachments by pavement vendors and garland makers. The problem is acute in the morning when a large number of flower cultivators reach the street to sell their produce to commission agents.

The Sattara street turned out to be a seat of congestion forcing the need for construction of a daily market by the corporation. The daily flower market, built at an estimate of about Rs. 30 lakh, remained unutilised for about two years till a section of flower merchants, particularly garland makers, were shifted there.

“The Sattara street has earned a reputation in flower trade, but the daily market, in its initial phase, is yet to attract buyers. We make garlands only to throw them away as there are no takers here,” says K. Rajasekar, one of the traders at the daily market.

He is one of the 68 merchants, who had occupied the shops at the market, after depositing some money with the corporation. The daily rent for his shop measuring 48 square feet is Rs. 31.

“I am unable to remit the daily rent and have given up the trade altogether for the past few weeks. Of the 68 shops, only a dozen traders have been operating at the market, that too without any prospects,” he adds.

At the Sattara street, he used to engage at least five labourers to make garlands. “The wage per garland varies between Rs. 40 and Rs. 45 a piece,” he says.