Prices of flowers, including those of popular ones that are used to make garlands and for pujas, have gone up sharply pinching pockets of common man and forcing retail sellers to scale down their daily offtake, thanks to low production in Dindigul district.

As the Pongal festival approaches, the business of blooms at Dindigul wholesale market is brisk and lively. A huge demand too drives the prices of flowers up.

While prices of Mullai were hovering between Rs.750 and Rs.800 a kg (last week's price Rs 250 to 300) and that of Jaathi Malli oscillating between Rs.600 and Rs.700 a kg (around Rs 400), Chamamole (Sevvandhi or Samandhi) remained steady at Rs.130 a kg (Rs 60 to 70) at the Wholesale Flower Market here on Thursday.

Chandhini variety of Sevandhi was sold at Rs.160 a kg. Oleander, which fetched Rs 60 a kg two weeks ago, ruled high at Rs.200. Similarly, buyers had to shell out Rs.60 for one kg of rose, Rs.40 for top quality Vaada Malli, Rs.80 for Sampanki and Rs.45 for Marigold.

Price of Bangalore Malligai rose up to Rs.500 and settled down at Rs.400 a kg in the morning. Kakrata variety of Malli remained strong at Rs.450 a kg and Kanakambaram was sold at Rs.700 a kg. Marikozhundu was pegged at Rs.100 a kg and Tulsi at Rs.25 a kg.

Production of all varieties of flowers has come down owing to sharp fall in temperature and unexpected torrential showers at the wrong time.

While acute cold weather hits quality of flowers, showers devastated flower farms in several acres in Nilakottai, Batlagundu and Dindigul unions, major flower production centres. Direct procurement of flowers by wholesale merchants from other districts from the farms too hit arrival of flowers to the market. At present, the wholesale flower market receives 10 to 12 tonnes of flowers a day. Ornamental flowers and roses come from Kodaikanal and Sirumalai.

The prices are likely to remain high till third week of January.

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