The Telegraph
Friday , March 28 , 2014
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Terracotta pitchers quench campaign thirst
- Ranchi trader introduces paan sellers to superior & affordable water coolers

What can offer ultimate relief on hectic campaign trails? Not many will contest a glass of cold water.

But, in places like Ranchi where uninterrupted power is still a dream, keeping freezers is not a viable option for modest paan shops. Chotanagpur Terracotta has come up with an economic alternative.

The earthen pitcher is a time-tested way to keep water cool in summer. Proprietor of the Ranchi-based firm Jagdish Prajapati has introduced its sturdier terracotta version to suit every capital pocket.

“People are used to seeing and buying surahis and ghailas (types of pitchers), but our product is different,” he held up a terracotta pot with a tap fitted to it for perusal. “Traditional pitchers have a thin body; this one has a thick outer layer of terracotta and an inner lining of soil commonly used to make surahis. The double layer will keep water cool for longer hours,” he said.

The terracotta pitchers have been brought from Siliguri in Bengal and are being sold to small-time traders across Ranchi. “It is election time. Auto-wallahs and rickshaw-wallahs campaigning for different parties will get thirsty. The pet bottles that they usually carry do not keep water cool for more than an hour. In Bengal, such campaigners stop at paan shops or roadside dhabas to quench their thirst. So, I decided to equip all paan shops in Ranchi with these terracotta pots,” said Prajapati.

The cool promise comes in three sizes — 1.5 litres, 8 litres and 12 litres — and is priced at Rs 150, Rs 200 and Rs 300, respectively. “The smallest pitcher is preferred for household use, but the others can come in handy at eateries and roadside shops.”

Prajapati added that he had procured as many as 150 terracotta pitchers from Siliguri last week, of which 50 had already been sold.

“Most people are buying the 8-litre pitchers. It is an ideal size, easy to clean and easy to carry, besides being reasonably priced. I had given the pitchers to three dealers — one in Harmu and two near Jaipal Singh Stadium. They have sold around 20 of these medium-sized pitchers to nearby paan shops and eateries. I hope the others will be sold soon too.”

Sekhar Kumar, who sells paan near Ratu Road, is among the many Ranchi shopkeepers who now boast terracotta pitchers. “This vessel has added to my business. Campaigners are stopping by to drink water and at the same time asking for paan and looking for something to eat. It is great time for business. I am planning to ask my wife to sell kakri (a kind of skinny cucumber that is a summer hit),” he said.