RAJKOT: Mahatma Gandhi’s ghani (indigenous cold-press oil mill), one of the key symbols of economic freedom , has been revived in Rajkot after nearly 18 years. Rashtriya Shala , which was founded by Gandhiji in 1921 , has started doing a bustling business by selling various types of oils crushed in ghani.
People are seen queuing up at his school campus to buy various oils, which are now available in plastic bottles with the logo that authenticates its purity. Gandhians say the scenes are similar to those that were witnessed decades ago when people carrying steel pots used to make a beeline to buy cold-pressed oils.
Along with the charkha (spinning wheel), Gandhiji had laid equal emphasis on promoting ghani to empower farmers and poor as well ensuring that people get pure and unadulterated edible oil. The Rashtriya Shala has started making groundnut oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sesame oil and hair oil too. They started the production from October 2, 2018, on a pilot basis but full-fledged production began in mid-December.
The sales have now reached Rs 10 lakh per month.
Managing trustee of the Rashtriya Shala, Jeetu Bhatt, said, “We are selling 60 kg to 65 kg oil per day from our three ghanis. Looking at the good response, we will get one more ghani with a crushing capacity of 100kg next month.”
Rashtriya Shala is also in talks with traders in Gundavadi, Astron and Pedak Road for wholesale supply. Shabbir Shaiket, an oil trader in Gundavadi, said, “My customers are demanding this oil because of its purity and people have trust in the products of Rashtriya Shala.”
The cold-pressed oil is costlier than the refined oil. For example, the groundnut oil made in ghani costs Rs 225 per kg while the same refined oil is available for Rs 120 to Rs 130 per kg. But Rashtriya Shala claims purity is their USP, which has also been officially certified.
The Rashtriya Shala is targeting to sell the oil worth Rs 1 crore per month in the next one year and make it available at all the retail stores. Seeing the purity of the material it has a huge demand. “People prefer this oil because of its purity and we are again seeing those days when buyers were standing in the queue to purchase this oil. We want to make it available in all markets, but we are lacking on the marketing front,” said Bhatt.
Rashtriya Shala had started crushing sesame seeds in 1935. But the onslaught of refined products and damage to the building in the 2001 earthquake resulted in dwindling of oil production. In fact, they completed stopped making oil two years ago after the sole ghani became dysfunctional.