Ranchi, June 19 (IANS) Deoghar's famous and delicious peda, a speciality of this holy town of Jharkhand, is earning accolades in far off Gulf countries with Bahrain and Kuwait going crazy over it. The sweetmeat has now been given a license to sell in the international market. It is also eying the GI (Geographical Indication) tag and it is likely that its unique identity will be recognized soon.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the newly constructed international airport in Deoghar on July 11, the delicacy is likely to reach far and wide in the international market.
The month-long Shravani fair is going to start on July 14, which is a big draw for Lord Shiva devotees, about 80 lakh devotees are likely to arrive in this holy city. A member of the Babadham Peda Traders Association (BPTA) said there is a possibility that at least 10,000 tonnes of peda will be sold during the month long celebration. He explained the simple math behind this estimate. He said 80 lakh to one crore people will reach the holy city. While going back, every person buys at least one to five kg of peda. Calculating at the rate of Rs 280 to Rs 300 per kg, this business works out to Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore.
Even after the Shravani fair, devotees and tourists from all over the country and abroad keep coming here throughout the year and due to this, the current annual business of the peda is about Rs 125 crore. It is also a major base of the economy in Deoghar's satellite towns such as Basukinath, Jasidih, Ghodmara, etc.
Deoghar Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri said that a systematic effort is being made by the district administration for branding of the Babadham Peda and to promote it in the international market. The Medha Dairy of the Jharkhand government has got a license to sell the product in the international market. A consignment was sent to Bahrain and Kuwait, and they simply loved it. In international marketing, special attention is paid to quality parameters such as packaging, logistic arrangements, etc.
The administration held a meeting with various stakeholders associated with the business two months ago. A joint action plan has been prepared for the commercial shipment and supply of Peda. The Centre's APEDA (The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) is also chipping in.
Satyandeep Singh of the National School of Law, Bengaluru, is looking after the legal issue before the GI Registrar based in Chennai to get the GI tag. He said the history of the Deoghar peda is 120 years old. There are three-four hundred peda shops near the main temple in Deoghar itself. The most famous is a shop on the way to Basukinath, 20-22 km from Deoghar. There are some five-six hundred peda shops here. There is no such big cluster of peda shops anywhere else in the country.
A local journalist of Deoghar, Sunil Jha said that there is a 100-year-old peda shop here. Peda made of khoya and jaggery, remains safe for consumption for 10 to 12 days even without refrigeration. The most interesting thing is that it is not offered as prasad to Lord Shiva, but the devotees return from here mainly with peda in the form of prasad. Actually, Lord Shiva is offered water from the Ganga which is mixed in Peda and that is why it is considered as Mahaprasad.