Sukinda, December 22, 2017:As a measure of encouraging conservation and promotion of biodiversity and tribal culture, Sukinda Chromite Mine (SCM) of Tata Steel in Jajpur district of Odisha organised an agro forest food diversity festival ‘Prajatiya Khadyotsav on December 18, 2017’. This is a part of a series of initiatives that SCM has been undertaking to contribute to the National Biodiversity target of 2020. The second edition of the Khadyotsav showcased an array of agro-food diversities among different ethnic and tribal groups of the region and other parts of the state. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation’s (MSSRF), Jeypore unit displayed 50 rare near extinct indigenous collections of paddy like Samudrabali, Machhaknta, Kalajira, etc. 21 varieties of raggi, like bada mandia, dasahara mandia, sana mandia, 2 types of foxtail millet and 41 varieties of plant parts used for medicinal purposes. On the occasion, successful vegetable farmers of the nearby village Nagada were also felicitated and given agricultural implements.An exhibition of more than 80 varieties of ethnic and age old traditional and tribal food was set up. There were 30 varieties of traditional cake called Pitha (in local parlance), 10 types of rice, 25 types of curry, 35 types of roots, tubers and many more which the tribals have been using for ages. Exotic items like Black carpenter ant chutney, Bamboo shoot pickle, country chicken khichdi, cakes made of Mahul flower, etc were also a big hit among the visitors attending the exhibition.
Experienced chefs of star hotels of Bhubaneswar like Mayfair, Trident, Ginger assessed the cuisines, interacted with the participants and checked feasibility of adopting some of the delicacies in their menu. In November, SCM had facilitated the visit of four women of Sukinda for a visit to Taj Bengal to display their culinary skills. These four women also displayed food items there and were felicitated. Around 200 tribal women had displayed their dishes in 30 stalls.Appreciating this initiative of Tata Steel, Shri Preeti Ranjan Gharai, MLA, Sukinda who had joined as Chief Guest on the occasion, said that programmes like these will go a long way in promoting the cause of biodiversity and helping in preserving the dying ethnic and tribal food habits of Odisha.Speaking on the occasion Mr R R Satpathy, General Manager, Operations, Ferro Alloys and Minerals Division, Tata Steel said that this was a part of a series of similar events on Biodiversity that the Sukinda Chromite Mine has been undertaking and it aims to spread awareness on rich tribal food diversity of the region and to take it to next level by making it available in star hotel tables.
Commending Tata Steel for the programme Shri Bijya Parida, Senior Chef of hotel Mayfair said local delicacies like Khir Kakra, Kanti (sweet dish made of black gram cakes), mischi ki sag (a kind of spinach) are very good and can be introduced in hotel’s Odia food restaurant. Other dignitaries present on the occasion included Shri Pratap Patra, Member, Zilla Parisad, Sukinda block, Shri Rajesh Patel, Chief, Mining, SCM, Shri Harihar Barik, General Secretary of the SCM Workers’ Union, local PRI members, employees of Tata Steel, members of union and villagers.