Zafrus Salam, BeyondHeadlines
Over the past one decade the snacks industry in India has seen rapid growth due to the increasing demand of vegetable snacks. It is no surprise that this industry is a major contributor to the country’s GDP.
In India, snack markets offer a wide variety of snack options, ranging from roasted banana wafers, Chakli & Chikkis. These snacks make great accompaniments to tea, coffee, and other beverages.
There are scores of food businesses in Dharavi mostly run by Tamilians. Some of these sweets and spices produced by these entrepreneurs are sold in the city’s upscale stores and hotels.
Pushparaj Thiagaraj, known as Chikke or Farsanwala Anna, started his career as a daily labourer in Dharavi in the mid sixties. Anna displayed sharp business acumen very early, and it took him years to get started in his own business. Eventually, he got into roosted grain business under the brand of Swan Agri Products Pvt. Ltd in 1991. His products soon received wide acceptance and the demand increased so much that he found it difficult to supply on time. In order to meet the demand he hired skilled labors from north India and set up new units in MIDC-Rabale, New Mumbai.
The rapid development in Mumbai in the last one decade and the rise of the middle class provided the fillip to snacks manufacturers to expand their businesses. Catching up on the trend, he launched P K T Enterprises in 2004, which manufactures all kind of snacks.
Pushparaj Thiagaraj, proprietor, P K T Enterprises says, “Low price and high volumes is key to our success.” He adds, “The Company is doing well and as a result, the total turnover of my company amounts to Rs. 4.5 crore per annum.”
When asked about Dharavi’s redevelopment issue he says, “Small scale business will be affected. Small businesses will have to pay taxes. Protection, security and stability will become a major issue.”
Thiagaraj sits in his furnished and air conditioned office along with an office assistant at Anna Nagar, Dharavi.