Even though Dadar’s famous flower market, like most of Mumbai, remained deserted on Sunday, it did not halt their business. In fact, given the immense demand for flowers, most traders made a considerable profit as flower prices saw a 50 to 60% hike.
“There was so much risk involved and the orders we got were both large and last minute. We did not hike the prices, the suppliers did,” said Machchindra Ghatge, a trader defending the hike in prices of flowers.
“Ideally, for a solemn occasion [such as the funeral], only white flowers are used. But there simply wasn’t enough tagar, jasmine or white roses or chrysanthemums. Tube roses and orchids would be too exotic and hence, expensive. So people were buying whatever flowers they could get their hands on for the procession. Roses and marigolds were also bought in huge amounts,” another trader, Manikbhai Gala, said, adding that the huge demand saw prices rising beyond those on Dussehra and Diwali. (see box)
To avoid unwanted attention, most shops tried not to look too busy.
“We kept our shutters down to avoid trouble, but most political parties and workers know where to find us as we supply them with flowers all the time,” Gala said.
Due to the bandh, most local retailers kept their shops closed. This led Shivaji Park-bound Shiv Sainiks to head to Dadar flower market. “My local vendor has not delivered the flowers and garlands for the pooja at home. We obviously had to come here looking for flowers,” a prominent Sena leader from the central suburbs pointed out.
Tagar: Rs60 to Rs80 a kg
Jasmine: Rs80 to Rs100 a kg
White roses: Rs50 to Rs70 a bunch
Red roses: Rs30 to Rs50 a bunch
Chrysanthemums: Rs50 to Rs100 a kg
Orange marigold: Rs60 to Rs75 a kg
Yellow marigold: Rs80 to Rs120 a kg