Andhra Pradesh

Haleem makers in city brace for losses

The traditional Ramzan delicacy might not go on sale this year due to the nationwide lockdown.  

Foodies in the city will be forced to give a miss to their favourite ‘haleem’ this year, perhaps for the first time in recent memory, due to the prevailing lockdown.

The narrow lanes of One Town, which usually come alive with several haleem stalls every year during the Ramzan month, are also set to sport a deserted look.

Most haleem sellers generally open their stalls four to five days before the commencement of the Ramzan month, and stay open till the end of the festival. They usually hire chefs from Hyderabad or Kolkata. This year, however, will be bad for business.

“We had plans to start our stall on April 20 or 21, as the Ramzan month begins this weekend. But due to the lockdown, this will not be possible,” said Sheikh Zuber, proprietor of the ‘Hyderabadi Dil Se Haleem’ stall at Jagadamba Junction.

“We hire a chef, an assistant and four helpers from Hyderabad and a lot of ingredients from Delhi to prepare haleem in Vizag in bulk quantities. But due to the closure of borders, we have run out of options,” Mr. Zuber said.

According to Mr. Zuber, atleast 1,200 people visit haleem stalls in the weekdays during the Ramzan month and during the weekends, the number of customers rises to nearly 2,000.

“We have been putting up haleem stalls during Ramzan for the last 12 years. This is the first time that we will not be doing so,” said Mr. Zuber, adding that he is looking at losses of up to ₹5 lakh.

Post-lockdown

Many haleem sellers are keen to see if the government decides to ease some restrictions post May 3. Some sellers opine that it would be a good idea to allow small-scale eateries to provide door delivery option to their customers, a move that would allow them to make some much-needed money.

“If restaurants, food zones and delivery services were allowed, we could have done something. If the government feels that opening of food zones would lead to gathering of crowds, it can consider the option of allowing food delivery services to resume operations. They should lay down strict guidelines for the haleem makers to ensure safety and hygiene,” said another haleem maker.

Foodies disappointed

“Haleem is not a dish that you can make at home by watching online tutorials. We also relish the experience of visiting haleem stalls with our families and eating haleem, biryani and sweets. We will definitely miss the iconic dish this year,” said K. Bhargavi, a resident of Shivajipalem.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 6:10:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/haleem-makers-in-city-brace-for-losses/article31400485.ece

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