Hyderabad: The almost century-old ‘khowa market’ located at Chandulal Bela in Shah Ali Banda of the old city is now dependent on neighbouring Maharashtra for its survival.
For last several decades, ‘khowa’, a dairy product made from concentrated milk or dried whole milk, was sold in around 50-odd shops that carry out business at the market and cater to the daily needs of confectioners, caterers and individuals.
The market started with about a dozen shops in the early 19th century and gradually grew over a period of time into a full-fledged market. In the past, a few families prepared the khowa here from the milk supplied by traders on city outskirts. However, the practice has stopped now.
“Supplies are now from Maharashtra, mainly Sholapur city, and we are dependent on them for our business. Previously we used to get supplies from various places in united Andhra Pradesh and also Karnataka but this has stopped now for various reasons,” explained Abbu Bhai of Abbu Khowa shop at Chandulal Bela.
Supplies by truck
The ‘khowa’ makers, who are mostly dairy farmers from various places in Sholapur, sell their produce to the traders there. “Around 8 pm, the khowa is packed in bags weighing about 10 kg to 12 kg each and sent to city in trucks or vans. By morning it reaches the market and is dispensed to local traders,” said Ismail, another trader.
Earlier, the market used to get supplies from Gulbarga and Bidar in adjoining Karnataka and Zaheerabad in Medak district of Telangana. “Farmers in these places have stopped preparing it in large quantities. Whatever is prepared is sold out locally due to low returns and cattle-related issues,” he added. The produce is now being sent to Gulbarga, Bidar and Zaheerabad from Bela khowa market. A kilogram of the milk product now costs between Rs. 200 and Rs. 220.
“Traders in Maharashtra are not willing to sell for a price lower than Rs.150 a kilogram to outsiders. Then again, the cost of transportation, local commissions, etc, when added, takes the local price to Rs. 200 and above a kg,” pointed out Prashanth Yadav, another merchant.
Roughly 5,000 kg of khowa arrives at the market every day by 9 am. “Within minutes of unloading the milk product from the trucks, the local shopkeepers send it to their regular customers who are confectioners, hotels and caterers. Individuals keep on visiting throughout the day to buy in small quantities for preparing sweets at their homes,” pointed out Yadav.