|People eat non-traditional food in Berhampur. Picture by
Berhampur, Oct. 18: Phailin has temporarily snatched away the favourite breakfast dishes and snacks of residents of the city.
Electricity has not yet been restored here following the cyclone. And grinders, which are vital in the process of making idli, dosa, chakuli, bara and the like, do not work without electricity.
Out of practice, the residents are finding it hard to go back to the traditional mortar and pestle, which not only is laborious, but also takes a lot of time. Therefore, many people are opting for puri, upma and ghuguni, which are non-traditional dishes in the district. And now, even these do not come cheap.
“Every morning we have to queue up in front of eateries to have breakfast. But, they do not include any of our traditional snacks,” said Santosh Lenka, 33, a private company employee, who has been staying in Berhampur for five years.
A shopkeeper said since there was no electricity, they could not grind their ingredients to prepare idli, dosa or chutney. “We have to make a paste of rice and black gram to prepare these dishes, for which we need grinders. We also need to grind spices (masala) for south Indian food items, which are traditionally preferred here,” said Pinnal Ramman, who sells snacks in the city.
Another vendor, Senthil Madhu, said that though he had a hand-operated traditional grinding machine, he found it hard to grind the ingredients in large quantities.
“We tried a day or two to make such arrangements, but the food items were sold off within a few minutes. The hand-operated machine needs more time and the job is laborious. Besides, we have lost touch as we have been using electricity-operated grinding machines for a long time now,” said Madhu.
Many vendors have raised prices of even the not-so-popular items. While one puri sold at Rs 2 earlier, vendors are now demanding between Rs 3 and Rs 5 for each. Upma, which used to be sold at Rs 10 to Rs 12 a plate, is now selling at Rs 15 and above.
Even mills, where people used to get their black gram and rice ground, are suffering because of the power outage. “This is the festive season and Kumar Purnima was celebrated today. People need to ground large quantities of black gram, rice and other food materials during this time, and we usually make a good profit. But Phailin has hit business this time. We are waiting for the electricity to be back,” said local resident Raghupati Prusti.
The district will have to wait some more for power to be back. Electricity department officials, who are working to restore power supply, say the people in Berhampur will have to wait for at least 10 more days and people in other areas between 20 days and a month to get their grinders working.
However, energy minister Arun Saha today promised that electricity supply would be back in Berhampur within four days. At the moment, only MKCG Medical College and Hospital and the public health engineering organisation have been provided with electricity supply.