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THE CRISPY CHRONICLES (SIX DECADES OF UNMATCHED POPULARITY)

It all started on a balmy day in 1959 with the sun ablaze in Bombay’s cloudless sky. A majority of the women inhabitants of an old suburb in Girgaum, South Bombay were busy attending their usual domestic chores. A few of them, seven to be exact, wanted to start a venture to create a sustainable livelihood using Cooking (something they were expert at) and see if it could be turned into a small-scale business proposition . They were-

  • Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat
  • Parvatiben Ramdas Thodani
  • Ujamben Narandas Kundalia
  • Banuben. N. Tanna
  • Laguben Amritlar Gokani
  • Jayaben V. Vithalani and one more lady.

The women had borrowed Rs 80 from Chhaganlal Karamshi Parekh (popularly known as Chhagan Bapa - click here to know more) a social worker and bought necessary ingredients and the basic infrastructure required to manufacture papads. On 15 March 1959, they started with the production of 4 packets of papads.
Chaganbapa then advised them to make a standard papad and maintain the same. He stressed the importance of running it as a business enterprise and maintaining quality. Over the months Lijjat expanded as a cooperative system. In the first year, the organisation's annual sales were Rs. 6196.
In 1962, the name Lijjat (Gujarati for "tasty") was chosen by the group for its products. The name, suggested by Dhirajben Ruparel, was chosen in a contest held for the purpose, with prize money of Rs. 5. The organization was named Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. By 1962–63, its annual sales of papads touched Rs.182,000.
In July 1966, Lijjat registered itself as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860. In the same month KVIC (Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission set up by the Government of India for development of rural industries) personally inspected the Lijjat organization.

The first branch outside Maharashtra was established at Valod, Gujarat in 1968.
Lijjat Papad - Valod Unit

After tasting tremendous success with their papads, Lijjat began producing other products like Khakhra (Baked Papad from refined flour), Spices, Vadi (Flour Dumplings), wheat atta, and bakery products .
By 2002, Lijjat had a turnover of Rs 3 billion and exports worth Rs. 100 million. It employed 42,000 people in 62 divisions all over the country. The 62nd branch became operational at Jammu and Kashmir in 2002, enrolling over 150 members.
From humble beginnings on the streets of Mumbai, Lijjat has become an internationally recognized organization helping to change the lives of thousands of women, and their families, across India. At the same time, the cooperative has produced impressive business results and become an award-winner.

 

 


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