On Thursday, the South India Floriculture Association (SIFA) and various farmers’ organisations held a protest in the city of Bengaluru in Karnataka demanding the state government to revoke its order of banning garlands, bouquets, and fruits in government events.
The protest by SIFA against the order was held outside the international flower auction centre at Hebbal in North Bengaluru.
Protesting groups submitted a letter to P Ravi Kumar, the Chief Secretary of the state, asking him to withdraw the order immediately. Srikanth Bollapalli, president of the Flower Council of India
The order by the state chief secretary had come on Tuesday following the directions of newly-appointed Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. The order also mentions that only Kannada books will be given at the events.
Citing unnecessary expenditure, the Karnataka government has banned the practice of giving garland, shawls, and other gift items at government events. Surprisingly, none of the stakeholders including floriculturists and their associations were consulted.
“Due to the pandemic there are no government events. Marriage ceremonies are not happening and there are no major events in the state. At a time when we were hoping for a revival post the pandemic, the state government has suddenly come up with this ban. It should be immediately lifted,” said Aravind. T.M. Aravind, president of the South India Floriculture Association
Karnataka is a hub for the flower industry and used to do incredibly well with exporting flowers and related things not only all across India but also exported its products to foreign countries. It accounts for 75% of the total flower production in the country. However, with the COVID19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns and barriers in international trade, the industry is struggling to survive and continue to generate jobs and incomes for those engaged in it. Those involved in the floriculture knee-deep are incurring losses and the government’s decision will act as salt in their wounds.
He complained there is no scientific logic behind the order issued by the government. “Banning plastics to prepare flower bouquets is fine but banning flowers in government events is not a logical solution for anything. In fact, flower vendors are using eco-friendly ways to prepare bouquets. Crores of rupees are invested in floriculture. Many are carrying out farming by taking loans, what will they do now?” he questioned.
A lot of people who earlier engaged in flower cultivation but since the market is down and there already exists overproduction, people have started to switch to growing vegetables to make their ends meet.