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Life, sweetened by `pootarekulu'

B.V.S. Bhaskar


AATREYAPURAM (EAST GODAVARI): Green fields, the mighty Godavari, mouth watering Kajas and then... Pootarekulu. Talk of Godavari districts and these come to mind.

Pootarekulu is a much popular sweet in East and West Godavari districts. If anybody is planning an Aatreyapuram trip, which is about 37 km from Rajahmundry, he will face this question for sure - will you get Pootarekulu or mango jelly for us? The two sweets are synonymous with this village.

Pootarekulu making is an art and every household in this village has mastered it. It has become a cottage industry and has been flourishing here for almost three generations. "Apparently, one old lady while cooking suddenly hit up on the idea of making good use of starch. She extracted it, added sugar and ghee to it and the rest is history," said V. Rajendra Prasad, an ex-service man who took initiative in expanding the business in his colony.

Villagers soon started making wrappers from rice flour, put sugar and ghee inside and folded them. Every day women in each house prepares 400 wrappers on an average and sell to businessmen directly at the rate of Rs.20 per 100 wrappers.

Savings via SHGs

In 1994, all the women in the village formed into Self Help Groups and started saving schemes. "We receive daily orders and make Pootarekulu through out the year. From April to June we make mango jelly too on a large scale," said N. Vimala, a leader of one Dwacra group. "There are 100 groups in the village and each group has 10 to 12 members. We got bank linkage for preparation of Pootarekulu and mango jelly. We too have a hand in supporting our families," beams Ch. Satyavathi, leader of the groups in the village.

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