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Cuttack: With the pandemic bringing about a change in the way people eat and the focus shifting from satisfying the tastebuds to boosting immunity, those in the food business are trying to cash in on healthier alternatives. No wonder then that pithas (a type of rice cake) made of finger millet mandia and such like flew off the shelves during the Raja festival in the twin cities. With restrictions on social gatherings, the three-day festival (starting Sunday) this year has turned into an indoor affair. But the online delivery of food kept has the spirits high and celebrations intact.
Many sweet shops and several self-help groups (SHGs) have been making mandia-based food for the festival and selling them online owing to Covid-19.
As social distancing and boosting immunity are the best ways to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, we thought of offering healthy food along with pithas this year during Raja to ensure that the customers have a strong immune system,” Sanjukta Bhutia, a member of a self-help group engaged in making mandia-based food, said. She added, “The self-help groups have been preparing various food items such as mandia biscuits, laddus, mixture, cakes, breads and cookies that were in huge during the Raja festival.” More than 250 women have been engaged in making these food items. They are available on Swiggy and Zomato. “The prices start from Rs 5 and go up to to Rs 500. They are being sold in adherence to the Covid-19 guidelines. We have sold pithas worth Rs 2 lakh in three days,” Bhutia said.
Apart from mandia, the self-help groups are also preparing traditional kakara, arisa, chuncipatra and the famous Poda pitha for Raja. “It was an altogether new experience to taste mandia cookies, cakes, breads and muffins during Raja. I had ordered more than Rs 1000 worthmandia-based food online and they were delicious,” Dibyajyoti Das, a resident of Rasulgarh, said.
Besides the OTDC , hich had launched ‘pitha-on-wheels’ claimed to have sold Rs 5 lakh worth the of the sweet dish till Monday.