Kalinganagar: Every morning at around 6: 30 am, a team of women of Radha Krishna Self-Help Group starts from Gobarghati Rehabilitation and Resettlement Colony with their mobile food van towards the Duburi Chowk. They halt near the main gate of Tata Steel Plant in Kalinganagar, where they have been selling breakfast items for the last one and half months.
These women, with the support of Kalinganagar unit of Tata Steel Rural Development Society started the “Foods on Wheels” in the first week of April. Their breakfast menu includes delicious vada, samosa, idli and chakuli (a version of dosa). They move to two other places in the area where it is crowded and quality breakfast is not available, before returning to their colony after about three hours. The popularity of the mobile food van is slowly picking up and it is drawing more and more customers with each passing day. The neat and colourful cart with all-women team serving quality breakfast items is a new concept in Kalinganagar. All three SHGs are now selling food items worth Rs 2,400 per day.
In the mobile food van business, three SHGs of Gobarghati – Radha Krisha SHG, Maa Laxmi SHG and Sai Ram SHG – are involved. After the breakfast team returns, the team of Maa Laxmi SHG follows the same route with lunch – vegetable biriyani, non-vegetable biriyani and lata mandi (a tribal non-veg recipe) – and returns home by 3:30 pm when the third SHG team is ready with the evening snacks i.e. Samosa, vada and other deep-fried items.
About two months back, a group of 17 women SHG members were sent to PACE Skill Centre, established by Tata Steel, at Sheregada in Ganjam district for food production training. It was a three-day residential training during which the women learnt to prepare different gravies, biriyani and South Indian recipes of restaurant standard. The chefs at the institute also provided tips to them on how to prepare quality food items with low investment.
“The training has given us a lot of confidence. Earlier, we were apprehensive about being able to prepare food of restaurant standard. However, at the training institute, we saw how hotel food items being cooked. The chefs showed us the tricks and gave us tips. Now we know the secrets of the gravies and looks of different recipes,” says Sukumari Jamuda, who happens to be the Secretary of Sai Ram SHG, beaming with confidence.
Tata Steel is promoting SHGs to start income generation activities in its operational area in Kalinganagar. About five months back, it supported another SHG named Maa Tarini which is selling a drink made of ragi millet. Health conscious people, especially those who are diabetic, have liked it very much.