Social distancing missing at flower market

People jostling with each other to buy flowers at a wholesale market in Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

It was business as usual at Gudimalkapur flower market on Monday morning as hundreds of farmers, traders and buyers descended to make their Dasara purchases. The COVID-19 lockdown appeared like a distant memory as the men and women jostled to bid, bargain and buy mostly marigolds, chrysanthemums and roses.

“I was afraid that business will be affected due to COVID-19 fears but over the last three days it was like old times,” said Jagannath Reddy, a wholesale flower trader, while adjusting his mask. While some traders wore masks and gloves, a majority of the shoppers could be seen without masks and social distancing norms were observed more in the breach. Hyderabad has seen closure of multiple wholesale markets including Osman Gunj, Begum Bazar and even Laad Bazaar due to COVID-19 super-spreader events.

The Durga Puja celebrations in the city have been low key events where the size of idols was limited to 2.5 ft, worshippers to 50 and the bhog (food) distribution among devotees was barred. The rush at the flower market was not surprising as flowers form a big part of Dasara celebrations in Telangana where they are used for the 9-day Bathukamma festival, as offerings for goddesses, and also for decorating vehicles and machinery for Ayudha Puja. “We sold the chrysanthemums for ₹ 300 per kg for two days and now the price has dipped to ₹ 140 as festival shopping is almost over,” said Venkatesh Reddy, who buys flowers in bulk and sells them in different parts of the city to retailers.

At the retail level, chrysanthemums were hawking for ₹ 20 for 50 gm (chatak) in the city as people made last-minute purchases before the puja.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:54:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/social-distancing-missing-at-flower-market/article32946837.ece

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