COVID Dampen Flower Sales On New Year In Odisha Capital: No Buyers Even For White Lilies, Naveen’s Favourite

Bhubaneswar: With restrictions imposed on celebrations in view of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, there were hardly any buyers at the scores of florist shops, which usually do brisk business on New Year, in the state capital on Saturday.

Greeting people by exchanging flower bouquets is one of the most popular ways among people here to wish New Year. But buyers stayed away from florist shops on January 1 because of restrictions and muted celebrations in view of Omicron.

There were no takers even for white lilies, the favourite flower of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Florists said lilies and other flowers sell in bulk on New Year and their business on a single day runs into lakhs of rupees. One florist said that shops in the city sell flowers worth up to Rs 50 lakh on New Year but this time they could sell flowers worth only about Rs 10 lakh.

Every New Year, politicians, bureaucrats and others can be seen at Naveen Nivas, the Chief Minister’s residence, on New Year, waiting for their turn with bouquets of white lilies to wish the CM.

But this time, no one was allowed at Naveen Nivas on Saturday, including ruling BJD leaders, dampening the sale of white lilies.

The lilies come from Bengaluru and a bundle of 10 pieces costs around Rs 1,700 and is sold for Rs 3,000, a florist said, according to a report. Florists here are aware of the CM’s fondness for white lilies and stock adequately for New Year. Roses and marigold come from Kolkata.

The night curfew this time also ensured that florists could not open their shops on time on Saturday, which usually make the bulk of their sales by 6 am on New Year. This time, they could open shops only at 8 am.

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