Mr.Girish Maheshwari, a 29 years old entrepreneur, has recently developed a ‘New Process System’ for dal milling. This new system produces dal from raw pulses in just 2 days as compared to the current 6-7 days period.
It also increases the yield of the total dal production to 85% from the current 78-80% levels. “This system also gives excellent quality dal (phatka) output to an astonishing 75%; up by 20-25% from the current 50-55%. Moreover the dal so obtained is far superior on all counts such as colour, sharp edges, shining, appearance, cooking quality and protein value. The quality is also consistent throughout the year irrespective of external climatic conditions,” avers Mr. Maheshwari. “While developing this system I’d been able to find innovative and cost effective practical solutions for many of the major problems in current processing system,” he adds.
Mr. Maheshwari is the director of Bhagyarekha Enterprises (Development Centre For Pulses Processing) located in Barsi in Solapur district, Maharashtra. He owns a dal milling plant. His family has been in the dal milling business for last 55 years and he joined the business 9 years back.
Mr. Maheshwari wants to turn his laboratory level research and development into an actual pilot plant having the capacity of 3-4 tonnes per hour. The initial R&D work was carried in a 3,000 sq.ft. shed. The R&D center now is getting transferred to a 15,000 sq.ft. building, and an additional 1,60,000 sq.ft. (4 acres) of land has been kept reserved for future expansion and developments, which will take place while converting this small center into an institute. “I intend to invite and involve young, talented researches from different branches of science and engineering streams such as mechanical, thermal, aerodynamics, physics, instrumentation, metallurgy etc. and students from IITs and engineering colleges to join me at this drawing board stage itself,” he says.
He further says, “I’m very sure that ‘consultancy’ and ‘guidance’ of these experts ‘at this stage’ will definitely ‘reduce’ the expensive trial and error attempts and various problems that may arise in future. This will help in fine-tuning the technology and the machines and equipments quickly according to the different requirements in actual processing. And once the pilot plant become operational and successful, I want to develop and establish a professionally managed corporate organisation that will be working for and focusing on the betterment of the dal industry.”
He says the organisation will serve as a platform for further research and exchange of ideas among people; who with dedicated efforts will contribute for the upliftment of the industry at large, taking into consideration that dal milling (pulses processing) industry is third largest food processing industry in India. “Given its size: 13-15 million tonnes in quantity and approximately Rs.22,000 to 25,000 crore in value; and the current status of the R&D work till now, there is enormous scope for further research and development,” avers Mr. Maheshwari.
Mr. Maheshwari met up with the officials of the Food Processing Ministry in New Delhi regarding his project. “It was a great opportunity for me and I had a great time interacting with the officials. The ministry officials liked and showed deep interest in my presentation and offered financial help in way of grant for the R&D project. But in return they wanted ownership of the results of the R&D. I’m not very enthusiastic with this idea. I want to retain the ownership right of the R&D centre and use it for the betterment of the overall pulses processing (dal milling) industry. I had offered them some stake in the equity of the R&D centre. They said they will put the matter with higher authorities and will come back to me after further discussions,” he says
Pricing of Machinery
When asked about the pricing of the machines, Mr. Maheshwari avers, “The exact price of the different machines will be decided at a later stage. At this stage we are at incubation level. But still I’ll like to tell you that the complete dal mill plant of a capacity of 4 tonnes/hour will be priced somewhere between Rs.30-35 lacs,” adding, “I’m very sure and confident that the first lot of this machines will definitely come in the market in the last quarter of this year i.e 2005.”
[hidepost] Interest Shown
According to Mr. Maheshwari around 30 people from Barshi, Latur, Solapur, Gulbarga, Akola, Jalgaon, Jalna and Vasad (Gujarat) are keenly interested in his project and are supporting him for the project of R&D center. “I’m very sure that there will be a number of other dal millers, who will also be keenly interested once I reach out to them and convey them the results and outcomes of the activity,” he says.
He adds, “Even though there is no confirmed order as of now, there are three genuine enquiries. Everyone is waiting to see the actual pilot plant running and processing of raw pulses into dal. The actual work on the pilot plant will start very soon and the pilot plant will be ready in the next 6 months.”
Objective of Organisation
Stating the reason he wants to develop the organization, Mr. Maheshwari says, “This development can be called ‘successful’ in true meaning only when it will lead to the betterment of the two ends of this industry – the consumer and the farmer. They are the backbone and the sole reason for the existence of this industry. They deserve prime concern from everyone in the industry and need to get their share of benefit of this development.”
He further says, “The consumer should get better quality products. Similarly the farmer should get a better price for his produce. This will be possible when the technology will be available, accessible and feasible to all dal millers and the fresh entrepreneurs who intend to serve the country through this industry.” Adding, “Rather than making this technology accessible to only a handful of dal millers it will do better if there is a fair level playing field and healthy competition among all dal millers.”
Mr. Maheshwari also talks about his action plan for developing the organisation. He says that rather than totally depending on government organisations or universities and institutes funded by government to provide complete solutions, he intends to take their assistance as an external support. “This organisation will be managed and run by dynamic people whose growth depends upon the development and growth of this industry. And also it will be accountable to all stakeholders in it and the industry at large. This will make the organisation perform in a better and transparent way,” he avers.
Mr. Maheshwari plans to set this organisation in a semi urban, semi rural area. He says most of the dal milling clusters are in semi rural, semi urban India. He admits, “I know there will be a number of constraints because of the location, but then we should take them as challenges and should turn them into opportunities. If we can take the benefit of latest advancements and technological developments in telecommunication, IT sector as well as the happening reforms (even slower pace) in infrastructure, we can surely make this dream happen and sustain into reality.”
He adds, “On macro level also, this organisation will transmit positive signals for the upliftment of concerned people and betterment of the society at large, alongwith a profitable business model and creation of wealth. This will help to boost the confidence in entrepreneurial skills rather than always piggy-riding on back of government.”
Installation of Machines
One would require an investment to the tune of Rs. 7-10 lakhs depending on the manufacturing capacity and quality of hygienic conditions required by the dal miller for the installation of the machines. It will take around 15 to 75 days for installation. Mr. Maheshwari assures, “We provide all the required assistance in giving the knowledge for raising low cost finance and preparing ‘true’ project reports after getting assured about the genuine intentions of the concerned parties.”
He says, the machines can be installed in all those regions where dal milling activity is carried out. Along with that this technology will also help in starting the dal milling activity in those regions where the climatic conditions are not suitable for dal milling. “This technology will help to bridge the gap and inequalities that we have in different geographical areas,” he maintains.
Mr. Maheshwari plans to manufacture the machines initially at Barshi, where the R&D centre is situated. He says, “Later on I can think of spreading the manufacturing work geographically to different locations i.e. the major clusters where dal milling industry is concentrated.”
The obstacles faced by the company in making this technology popular is the lack of awareness among the concerned people i.e. MFPI, different government aided organisations and institutions; non-inclination of the existing millers to provide any serious attention towards standardisation of machines; and also lack of faith in the new technology. However, he emphasises, “But I honestly think that once they come to know that the technology can be implemented then I’m sure they all will not only support me but will join me. Media can assist me and can play a very crucial role here.”