Muscat: Expatriates from the south Indian state of Kerala — especially bachelors — residing in Oman will have to shell out more to taste a sumptuous Onasadhya meal today.
Compared to the previous years, the restaurants have hiked the prices of Onasadhya, the festival feast, by nearly 50 per cent this year.
"Everyone may not have a facility to prepare the 20-course feast at home. It takes a lot of time to prepare and for those living alone, it is almost impossible. Only experienced people can prepare a tasty Onasadhya. So, we have to depend on the restaurants," a group of expatriate bachelors working in a construction firm in Ghala, said.
"But, this time, they have hiked the prices. We won't be able to find a good sadhya served for less than OMR3.5 in town this year," they added.
Last year, the average price range for Onasadhya was between OMR2.5 and OMR3.
"The hotels charged OMR3 for home delivery or takeaway, but this year, it is quite costly. We have to pay OMR3.5 for the sadhya at the hotel and for takeaway or home delivery, it is more than OMR4," the expatriates added.
Meanwhile, hoteliers said that with the prices of vegetables and other items rising, they are compelled to hike the Onasadhya prices. "Compared to previous years, the prices of vegetables have gone up due to various reasons. Also, the vegetables used for preparing Onasadhya are imported from India, mainly from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The fall in the rupee and a few other reasons have resulted in the prices of vegetables in the south Indian states rising. So, we are compelled to hike the prices," hoteliers said.
The regional tensions, especially the crisis in Syria and the Indian rupee's value depreciation led to increased prices of vegetables in Oman.
"The vegetable prices in the south Indian states have gone up by more than 30 per cent in the last two weeks. We are importing vegetables from those states and this time we had to pay more. Even though we have imported more, expecting a high demand, we had to sell also at a higher price compared to last year," vegetable traders in the Sultanate said.
Keralites who were busy doing last minute Onam shopping at malls, also complained that the prices of vegetables have gone up.
"The prices have gone up. But Keralites cannot miss the Onasadhya. We have an old saying that says, 'Sell anything to celebrate Onam'. So, the price rise won't stop us from buying items for the sadhya," a Keralite family said.
"This Onam was costly, compared to previous years," the family added.
According to statistics, there are nearly half-a-million Keralites residing in the Sultanate.