Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 5: Even as Kerala gears up to celebrate the state’s biggest festival Onam later this week, people say the possibility of rain and rising prices may play spoilsport this year.
Onam festivities start Thursday and will peak the next day with Thiru Onam. The third day Saturday marks the culmination of Onam.
Since 1961, Onam is the official festival of the state. Legend states that on Onam, Mahabali, the mythical Asura king of ancient Kerala, visits his subjects.
‘I am 61 years old and believe me, this is the first time I am seeing rains coming down heavily during Onam festivities. This can be a real spoilsport,’ said businessman John Mohan.
The state meteorological department has predicted more rains for the coming two days.
Inflation too is another cause for worry, with the price of bananas, a key item that will be used in various forms during Onam, touching an all time high of Rs.42 per kg.
‘Last year, it was Rs.30 and then too many were saying that is too expensive. If not for the vegetables and provisions that are being supplied through various state-run organisations, this Onam would have left the average citizen poorer by thousands (of rupees),’ said Sajitha Jayakumar, a housewife in the commercial capital of the state Kochi.
On his part, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said his government is committed to ensuring a happy Onam for Keralites.
‘We have ensured that every state government employee gets either a bonus or a festival allowance. Incidentally, quite a few categories of employees who have never got an Onam allowance have been given one this time,’ said Chandy.