Buyers here were shell-shocked by a freak method adopted by garland vendors around Anna flower market as it shot up price of garlands manifold here on Sunday.
The demand for flowers has been growing this month, thanks to peak Sabarimala season and commencement of Palani ‘Thai Poosam’ festival season.
To cash in on the situation, garland vendors closed 20 out of total 22 shops and opened just two shops, empowering both vendors to fix price according to their whims and fancies.
Prices of small garland rose to Rs.50 from Rs.30 and medium size garlands increased to Rs.250 to Rs.350 from just Rs.100 to Rs.150.
The pilgrims were not only shocked but also confused by the sudden increase because prices only shot on Fridays and marriage ‘muhurtham’ seasons.
They did not expect such hike on Sunday.
Sources in the flower vendors association said that majority of vendors formed a syndicate and chose two shops through a raffle system to run them on last Sunday of every month.
Freedom was given to those vendors to fix the price. A portion of the sale proceeds should be offered to vendors’ association for its welfare activities, they added.
But association president Paramasivam said that closure of all shops was to show their unity and integrity.
“We opened two shops to maintain supply of flowers to customers throughout the week. We introduced the raffle system in order to select two shops impartially. Vendors would sell flowers on the basis of the prevailing price. The demand and availability of flowers only decided the price and not the vendors,” he added.