Bhapur: Two families belonging to the milkman community here in Fategarh village under this block in Nayagarh district have transformed their lives by sheer hard work. Not only are they living comfortably now, they are also helping unemployed youths of the locality to become self-reliant. All this through the famous Odisha delicacy ‘Chena Poda’, a sweet made of baked cottage cheese.
At one point of time, Magi Behera and his three sons – Alekh, Rabi and Prafulla – used to rear cows and earn a living by selling milk and cottage cheese. However, they could only just manage to make ends meet.
They used to supply milk and cheese to some confectionary shops in the villages. One day an idea struck them. Instead of selling milk and cottage cheese to other shops, they decided to go into the ‘Chena Poda’ business on their own. And since then there has been no looking back.
Initially, the family started selling ‘Chhena Poda’ at the local Fategarh market. It was an instant hit with people demanding more and more. The four then started buying milk instead of selling it to meet the demands for ‘Chena Poda’. As sales increased and profits grew the lives of Magi, Alekh, Rabi and Prafulla and other family members became much more comfortable.
Slowly, the four invested money in buying two-wheelers and mopeds because they needed more and more milk every day. They starting buying milk from close to 50 villages in Bhapur block alone.
The ‘Chhena Poda’ soon became famous in the locality. Traders and hoteliers from nearby areas also started to order ‘Chena Poda’ in bulk quantities and the small house of the family soon was transformed into a ‘Chena Poda’ manufacturing unit with ovens and utensils.
Magi’s family members then persuaded their neighbour Duryodhan Das and his sons – Antaryami, Trilochan and Deepak – also to join the same business.
As of now, these two families are leading and comfortable lives due to the ‘Chena Poda’. Since the quality of their product is very good, the shops they have opened are also now famous.
“Now we are not visiting villages on our own. Instead we have employed eight to 10 youths who are visiting on our behalf places under Bhapur block and villages in Baideswar area of Cuttack district and bringing us two to three thousand litres of milk per day,” said Rabi, Prafulla and Antaryami. They were quick to add that the youths have become self-reliant.
Currently the two families produce approximately 15 quintals of ‘Chena Poda per day they supply it to a large number of shops spread across Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Phulbani, Boudh, Nabarangpur, Jharsuguda, Dhenkanal, Rourkela, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Damanjodi and Muniguda.
Since the families sell the product for prices ranging from Rs 120 to Rs 140, many visitors to the area buy it directly from their shops. Chena Poda’ at most other places in Odisha costs close to Rs 200 a kg.