Flower growers fear tough times amid Covid restrictions

Flower growers fear tough times amid Covid restrictions

Subhash Rajta

tribune news service

Shimla, April 21

A week-long lockdown announced by the Delhi Government and restrictions on gatherings at weddings have caused panic among flower growers of the state. They suffered huge losses last year on account of lockdowns and strict restrictions on weddings and other functions. With the pandemic going out of control, they feel they are in for a tough time yet again. “Last year, I suffered losses over Rs 20 lakh. The situation looks equally grim this time too, with governments starting to impose lockdowns and restrictions on functions,” said Pyare Lal, a veteran flower grower from Mahog village, known as flower village, in Chail, around 30 km from Shimla.

Produce sold in Delhi’s Gazipur mandi

The flower growers have to market their produce in Delhi's famous Gazipur Flower Mandi. From there, flowers are transported to different parts of the country.

The flower growers have to market their produce in Delhi’s famous Gazipur Flower Mandi. From there, flowers are transported to different parts of the country. “Besides lockdown in Delhi, the restrictions on weddings, places of worship hamper our business. If only 50 people are going to be invited for weddings, who is going to bother to buy flowers for decoration. We are so dependant on weddings that we plant and harvest flowers according to the wedding season,” he said.

Kuldeep Singh, another grower from the area, said, “After losing money last year, we were looking forward to the coming wedding season to recover a part of our losses. However, restrictions on weddings and other functions are back and we are back where we were last year.”

“If the restrictions continue, the flower industry will be ruined. And we can’t even expect any support from the government, given what happened last year. Our losses were in lakhs of rupees and financial assistance we received was only a few thousands,” he said.

So disappointed are these growers that they are thinking of or beginning to switch over to crop cultivation or other businesses. “We don’t know for how long the pandemic will extend. So, I have planted over 200 apple plants this time” said Pyare Lal.

Ram Gopal, a flower grower in Jubbarhati, shares the concern expressed by the duo but isn’t as worried as they are. “We grow exotic vegetables, mainly red and yellow capsicums, along with flowers. While people may stop buying flowers, they will continue to buy these vegetables, more so because these are seen as immunity boosters. So, we can make up for some losses we suffer in the flower business through these vegetables,” he said.

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