The Odisha government has granted industry status to ‘khaja’, a popular dry sweetmeat and a major prasad in the Jagannath Temple, Puri.
A must-take by visitors to the pilgrim town, ‘khaja’ also known as ‘Pheni’, is a crispy and dry sweet prepared from flour and sugar syrup. Besides, its delectable taste, it remains fresh for many days.
“Khaja has a huge potential as an industry as there are more than 1,000 people involved in it while the business is increasing by the day. We have started registration of the entrepreneurs and would start giving it an organised structure,” said general manager of district industry centre (DIC) R N Mohapatra.
Sources said after the cluster formation a common facility centre and a special utility vehicle will be set up. “Proper documentation of the process of ‘khaja’-making will be done. There are also plans for application for Geographic Indication (GI) tag for the product,” Mohapatra said.
The ‘khaja’ is sold for Rs 120 to Rs 250 a kg depending on its quality. “It rarely happens that someone returns from Puri without buying ‘khaja’. Even our friends and relatives outside the state order it from Puri,” said a homemaker.
The industries department has started its initiatives to give an organized structure to the industry with around 200 units in Puri involving more than 1,000 people and a business above Rs 10 lakh a day.
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