The Telegraph
Friday , December 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bihar snack eyes country food platter

Brand Basmati Chura will soon make it to the list of snacks in various parts of the country and abroad.

City-based entrepreneur Satyajeet Kumar has decided to market Bhagalpur’s Katarni Chura (flattened rice) in India and in at least five other countries without any government assistance. The move would help realise chief minister Nitish Kumar’s vision that he has often spoken about — creating a situation in which a Bihari dish could be seen on the plate of each Indian.

Kumar’s Shakti Sudha Makhana (fox nut), at present, sells in many states and in countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, UAE and Canada. “I will use my existing set-up to supply Katarni Chura under the brand name of Basmati Chura,” he said.

“At present, we buy the makhana directly from Bihar’s farmers and supply it to at least 15 states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat, apart from the five countries in different edible forms. We do this without any government assistance or grants. We have created a strong platform after much of toil and groundwork. We will emulate the same for marketing Katarni Chura too. The supply to different states in the country will start by next January. We will also supply the same to other countries as well. The makhana business has flourished and the turnover last year was almost Rs 50 crore. Anything like this coming into the state is investment,” Kumar told The Telegraph.

The paddy from which the Katarni Chura, which is much smaller in size than the normal beaten rice and has the pleasant smell of Basmati rice, is presently grown across around 1000 acres in Jagdishpur in the Bhagalpur district, around 270km east of Patna.

“The same, under the brand name of Basmati Chura, will be launched in 15 states of the country from January. At present, our men are in Bhagalpur and are in the last phase of setting up things and lining up farmers from whom we will directly purchase the chura. The makhana has been a success story and presently around one crore people outside the state consume our product. We believe that this chura will also help the farmers in terms of price and will be free from the involvement of middlemen. The production area of the paddy will also increase once the product becomes a success,” Kumar said.

He added that they will manufacture some edible products from the chura, which will also be supplied in its original form. “Recently, we travelled to many cities and conducted a survey. The procurement of the chura from the farmers will start from next week. It will supplied abroad by March,” he said.

Next in the line is the Mirchaia Chura, mainly grown in the West Champaran district, around 210km northwest of Patna. “We will start off with the marketing of the same after March. The same process will be followed,” Kumar said.

Mirchaia Chura is considered to be the best in terms of quality.