Srinagar: When Syed Jalees Qadri from Ompora came to know about the center’s decision to replace plastic cups with environment-friendly ‘kulhad’ (earthen cups) at railway stations, he saw a business opportunity.
And when he realized that ‘kulhad’ was getting popular outside Kashmir, he decided to set up his unit in the Valley. Now, the earthen cups made at Qadri’s manufacturing unit are in big demand among the eateries and marriage caterers in the Valley.
“When I came to know that the ‘kulhad’ was replacing plastic cups at the railway stations, I realized that the demand for these earthen cups is going to soar in the future. And while I would see kulhad everywhere outside the Valley, I realized nobody is using these earthen cups in Kashmir. Therefore, I decided to set up my venture and later set up a ‘kulhad’ manufacturing unit in Budgam (in Central Kashmir). Unlike plastic, these cups are biodegradable and eco-friendly,” Qadri told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said the overwhelming response to his earthen cups in Kashmir had surprised him.
“The response has been overwhelming. I first thought that I would have to do a lot of marketing and tell people in Kashmir how ‘kulhad’ is being promoted outside and how it was getting popular. However, I was surprised by the orders I received without doing any major marketing. Most of my clients are local eateries and cafes that prefer to serve in ‘kulhad’. Nowadays people, especially the youngsters, like to drink tea in kulhad. Drinking tea from kulhad is not a new thing and people have been doing it for 5000 years,” he said.
Stating that he was also receiving lots of orders these days from caterers given the ongoing wedding season in Kashmir, Qadri said the demand for kulhad would grow in the coming years.
“I also receive orders from catering companies that serve food during weddings. Now, more people prefer to serve curd in kulhad during wazwaan. Kulhad is also used to serve ice cream. The demand for kulhad will only grow in the coming years,” he said.
Qadri said kulhads manufactured at his unit were cheaper than the ones made by potters. “I did a lot of research and met potters before setting up my manufacturing unit. Usually, an earthen cup sells for around Rs. 20. However, we can manufacture up to 1000 cups a day and our wholesale rate is only Rs. 5 per cup,” he said.