Special vegetable kits to meet

Onam demand

Bevco stocks liquor worth Rs.250 crore

Thiruvananthapuram: It will be an expensive Onam this year. Kerala’s harvest festival marked by sumptuous feasts and buying of new clothes, may not be as grand as usual — given the rise in prices.

The festival is celebrated in honour of Mahabali, the mythical king of ancient Kerala, and Malayalis believe that on Onam day, Mahabali visits his subjects. Onam is the official festival of the State. Professor E. Draupadi is unhappy over the high prices of vegetables, bananas and provisions, which have shot up 30-40 per cent over last year.

“In my seven decades of Onam celebrations, I don’t think I have ever come across an Onam season which is going to be as expensive as this time. The price of a kilogram of banana has crossed Rs.30, while it was around Rs.18 last year. Likewise, vegetable prices also have shot up,” said the 78-year-old professor who is awaiting the arrival of her three sons for the festival, that begins on September 1.

Traditionally, Onam is the festival when Keralites buy new dresses, but over the years people have begun buying electronic goods and home appliances too.

Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran is burning the midnight oil to ensure that vegetable prices are kept to the minimum. “We have come out with special vegetable kits, one which would cost Rs.50 that would be enough for a family for a day. We also have a kit for Rs.90 and we are certain that this would be enough to meet the needs of many during the Onam days,” said Mr. Ratnakaran.

Superstar Mohanlal is to do a special show here on Onam day. He will be honoured on completing three decades in the film industry, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said. The Kerala State Beverages Corporation has stocked liquor and beer worth Rs.250 crore at all retail outlets for the festival season, during which sales peak.

However, a dampener has come in the form of the Kerala High Court directing the State government to see that they do not violate the norm of observing the first of every month as dry day. — IANS