Warangal Urban: The aroma of incense sticks produced by Bhadrakali flower products unit set up by Adarsha Town Level Federation (TLF), Warangal, may soon be wafting through temples across the State, thanks to the efforts of Government Chief Whip and Warangal West MLA Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar.
With active support of officials of the Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA), a 10-member group of women under the aegis of TLF set up an incense stick manufacturing unit in November 2019 at Pothanagar community hall in Warangal.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Nagapuri Padmavathi, one of the core team members, said: “We set up the unit with a modest investment of Rs 1.50 lakh in our attempt to make it a successful enterprise. MEPMA officials helped us get training by roping in the services of an expert from Nagpur, who has expertise in converting flower waste into incense sticks. It took just two days for us to learn the skill of making the dhoop (incense) sticks.”
Stating that the group had employed 10 more women to make the dhoop sticks before the lockdown last year, she said: “We are now providing work to five or six women a day, paying them Rs 150 to Rs 400 based on their work at the unit. But we expect the numbers to go up since the government is considering purchasing our product. We are also trying to get loan from banks to scale up production.”
Padmavathi said the group was selling the incense sticks to women’s self-help groups besides setting up a stall on the premises of Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC).
Meanwhile, representatives of the Sri Rajarajeshwara temple, Vemulawada, recently visited the unit and took samples. Padmavathi said GWMC Commissioner Pamela Satpathy was trying to ensure that the dhoop sticks are sold at the Bhadrakali temple after discussing the matter with the temple authorities.
Vinay Bhaskar said Endowments Minister A Indrakaran Reddy had responded positively to his request to see that all the temples in the State purchase dhoop sticks from Bhadrakali dhoop stick unit since it would also provide more employment opportunities for women. “I will soon take the organisers of Adarsha TLF to Indrakaran Reddy and ensure that they get purchase orders from all temples,” Vinay Bhaskar added.
Palleboina Anitha, another member of the team, said their product was completely organic. “We procure discarded flowers and segregate them species-wise. We then weed out stems, sepals, threads and plastics from garlands before drying them. Then the petal heap is kneaded into a dough before it is rolled into incense sticks,” she said, adding that they add sandalwood, loban and binding powders to the dough.
“We used to make diyas and dhoop stick stands with the flower waste,” Kandi Laxmi, another member, said adding that they had stopped it as the market for them was only during Diwali season.
According to the MEPMA officials, they encouraged the women to set up the unit inspired by the Ganges cleaning project that campaigned against the release of ritualistic waste, especially flowers, into the river, and the flower
waste management using it for producing incense sticks. MEPMA provided free training to the members besides offering a community hall to set up the manufacturing unit and also ensuring supply of flower waste. A pack of 10 dhoop sticks is priced at Rs 35, while three packs are sold at Rs 100.
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