Maharashtra: For pedha lovers, this year's Ganesh festival may lack a slight sweet note
Sweets and milky delicacies, an intrinsic part of Ganeshotsav, may just be in short supply in this year’s festival. The recent floods in Sangli and Kolhapur, two of Maharashtra’s major milk-producing districts, have hit supplies to dairies, which in turn is bound to impact the supply of these sweets.
Indraneel Chitale, a partner of the Sangli-based Chitale Dairy, said on an average, the dairy collects 6 lakh litres of milk per day. But, in the wake of the floods, the daily milk collection has been falling short by 70,000-1 lakh litres. While the dairy require 2-2.5 tonnes of khoa daily, the demand for the thickened milk triples during the festival, said Chitale. Khoa forms the base of many Indian sweets.
“This shortfall is going to affect production of sweets like pedhas, which are much in demand during the festival,” he said. “Based on our calculation, we fear that there will be a shortfall of 10 per cent in our products during the festive season”.
Chitale Dairy, which has several outlets of its sweetshop Chitale Bandhu across the state, sees the maximum demand from customers and long queues outside its shops during the festive season. However, the dairy ruled out the possibility of any price correction due to the shortfall.
The Kolhapur District Milk Producers Cooperative Union, which retails milk and dairy products under the brand name Gokul, has also not been able to collect its usual 8 lakh litres per day. “Our collection is still short by 60,000-70,000 litres as the floods have affected a large number of milch animals,” said union chairman Ravindra Apte. He added that it will take time for the dairy to get back to normal production levels.
Over 3,500 animals are estimated to have died in the floods.
According to Apte, the dairy industry has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 19-20 crore for the 10 days when the floods had completely halted milk procurement in the district.
Apte said Gokul has been purchasing milk from the Karnataka Milk Federation and procuring buffalo milk from Madhya Pradesh. “It will take some time for operations to return to normal,” he admitted.