Flower-sellers in Srinagar fleece customers in absence of any regulation

SRINAGAR — Streetside flower sellers or florists know their business well in Srinagar. In absence of any regulation or cheap flower delivery options available to the customers, they charge at will without being questioned.

These florists are found everywhere. A couple of years ago, they had been doing their business at nurseries but now they have occupied footpaths and pavements in different parts of Srinagar.

News agency Kashmir News Trust talked to several vendors and found that they know exactly how to motivate the customers. These vendors have the flexibility and the advantage of being on the footpath as compared to those who run their businesses legally.

There is no fixed price for the varieties they sell to customers. The garden lovers or those who love to keep flowering pots in their rooms or in the premises usually buy jasmine, roses, marigold, gladioli, carnations, lilies, tube-roses, gerberas, asters, candy tufts, lady’s lace, sunflower, daffodil, daisy, and even orchids and anthuriums.

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“The craze for flowers is really spreading but the problem is that customers are now being fleeced by these florists. The important part of the story is that most of the flowers a customer buys from these vendors don’t last for long,” said Bilal Ahmed, a resident of Sonwar.

Another customer, Nisar Ahmed from Shalimar said that profit maximization is the real motive of these vendors. “They sell outdoor plants at exorbitant rates even when naïve customers require indoor ones,” he said.

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In the city-center Lal Chowk near Makah Market, customers can regularly be seen arguing with these florists on rates. Some even lose their cool and blame the administration for not regulating the flower industry.

“One day, I purchased an Aloe Vera plant for Rs 300 and the same plant was offered to me for Rs 400 when I visited the same place after a couple of days,” a customer told KNT, adding that he doesn’t understand whose baby is the flower business.

“The total size of the flower business in Kashmir has grown manifold, but these pavement florists, who operate illegally, are stealing away the lion’s share,” the customer rued.

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