Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Locals have been using the tuber for centuries for its cooling properties, incorporating it in halwa and thandai. Wikimedia commons

Summers are here and temperatures are soaring, with the fierce heat leaving throats parched and bodies fatigued. In this tiny Chhattisgarh village, a traditional soft drink made from tikhur (commonly known as East Indian arrowroot or narrow-leaved turmeric) is not only providing relief from this scorching heat but has also come as a welcome means of employment for local tribal women.

Tikhur is a forest product found in and around the Sihawa mountain in Dhamtari district. In Dugali, it’s found in/cultivated on around 25 hectares. Locals have been using the tuber for centuries for its cooling properties, incorporating it in halwa and thandai. It keeps the body cool and reduces the risk of heatstroke. Capitalizing on this quality of tikhur, the women belonging to the Jagriti Balika Self Help Group (SHG) in Dugali village have started making and selling it as a soft drink mix, with the support of the Forest Department. The department buys the tuber at around Rs 20 per kg from locals and supplies it to the SHG.


Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.

SHG member, Anju Mercam, 24, spoke to 101Reporters about the making of these drinks, “First of all, the tubers that are brought from the forest are sorted to get the good quality ones, which are washed, cleaned, and dried in the sun. After that, they are put in a crusher and the top layer is removed. They are then cut into small pieces and fed into another machine for grinding.”

“After grinding, it is put in mud pots where we attempt to extract all the white starch from it. In this process, the tuber is washed and filtered repeatedly from one pitcher to another. This is continued until absolutely no white starch is left in the tuber. The starch obtained is sun-dried in a wide-mouth pot and is then cut into shapes. This end-product is used in making the soft drinks which we call ‘local cola’,” Anju added. Every quintal of tuber (i.e 100 kg) yields 5 kg of starch.


She thanked the forest department for this, saying the department has also provided the SHG with some modern machines to help them scale up their production. Pixabay

This white powder, sold in the form of jaggery, is simply added to water to create a refreshing drink. Anju said that she earns 120 rupees a day by doing this work. This works out to up to 3000-3500 rupees a month, which is very useful for her and her family, she says. Kumari Thameswari Dhruv, assistant-in-charge of the SHG’s processing center, said that currently, a total of 20 women have been employed in the manufacturing process, working towards the “vocal for local” dream. While in the summer, the SHG manufactures this local cola, during the monsoon and winter, they make organic plates and bowls.

Divya Kunjam, another member of the SHG, said apart from employment, the venture also provides a safe working environment for the local women, so that their families remain free from worrying about any security concerns. She thanked the forest department for this, saying the department has also provided the SHG with some modern machines to help them scale up their production.

K.S. Madhukar, Deputy Officer (Deputy Ranger), Dugali Forest Zone told 101Reporters that this drink from Dugali has managed to carve out a distinct identity for itself in the entire state. He said, “The tuber found in the forests here has a very high amount of starch called Curcuma Angustifolia. The soft drink that is made from it is pure white and clean.” He said that due to its unique color, it commands a higher price in the market compared to drinks made from Tikhur grown in other places. At present, the cost of Dugali tikhur is Rs 1000 per kg.

In order to take Dugali’s tikhur drink and similar forest produce to the market, the Chhattisgarh State Small Forest Produce Association has opened a dedicated store in the state capital of Raipur which sells these forest produce and forest medicines. Apart from this, wholesalers can also procure the product from the Dugali processing centre itself.

ALSO READ: Lifting Your Spirits Through Dance

This year, 578 quintals of tuber were processed by the SHG who produced nearly 3,000 kg of the drink mix. Of this, 70 percent goes to the Raipur mart, 24 per cent is sold at the Dhamtari Dhanvantari Mart and 6 per cent is sold locally. The SHG gets 6 per cent of the total income generated. The rest is shared between the various marts and the forest department.

Anil Kumar Verma, Chief Forest Officer of the Dugali forest zone, says that this ‘local cola’ is loved not only by the local people but also by the soldiers deployed in these Naxal-hit areas. He said, “The brave soldiers of our country carry this drink during their patrols. It is a matter of pride for us to be quenching the thirst of the soldiers engaged in protecting Bastar and the country.” (IANS/JC)


Popular

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year.

A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industryNinety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.

silhouette of man holding luggage inside airport Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry | Photo by yousef alfuhigi on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

South Korean game developer has introduced a new initiative for Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) which will enable a new level of parental control via time limitations and OTP confirmation. The 'Game Responsibly' initiative will also show warning messages along with break reminders, game limits and more. "Every player, below the age of 18, needs to register a parent or a guardian before they start playing for the first time. An OTP will be sent to the registered person's number, post which the minor is allowed to play the game," the company said in a statement.

Some games can get intense and make players lose track of time. However, with timely break-time reminders, the developer has made sure players get the required downtime. These reminders will help them look up from their game and get back to real life, maintaining a healthy game-life balance. In addition, with a strict gameplay limit in place players below 18 years must not indulge in gaming for more than 3 hours per day. This automatically helps them treat gaming as an activity performed in moderation.

The brand has also set an in-game daily spend limit of Rs 7,000 that automatically stops them from overspending and overgaming. Krafton recently announced that it has removed 25 lakh accounts in just over a month to eradicate cheating on Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). Since the last announcement, between October 1 and November 10, Krafton banned 25,19,692 accounts permanently and 7,06,319 temporarily. "The company has cleaned out most of the cheaters in the game, making BGMI a much more fun experience, and will continue to take whatever step is necessary to keep BGMI fair and fun," it claimed. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Flickr

Proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan.

By Vinoda Kumary

The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.

Common Lung Disorders

Bronchial Asthma
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.

An Asthma patient taking medication using an inhaler Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. | Wikimedia Commons

Keep reading... Show less