TIRUCHY: Once a trademark of the Manapparai area, due to the lockdown, the famous Manapparai Murukku and its manufacturers are facing severe hardships. As many as 500 vendors who sell the snack are now worried about their future. Many are now daily wagers trying to make ends meet.
Introduced over a decade ago, Manapparai Murukku continues to to be one of the most popular crunchy snacks in South India. Around 550 major units operate in and around Manapparai engaged in in its manufacture. Due to its popularity, those travelling on the Tiruchy-Dindigul National Highway often stopped at Manapparai just to buy the snack. Vendors sold it at bus stops and highways.
The making and selling of Manappparai Murukku has been the sole enterprise for more than 700 families in Manapparai. Following the lockdown and with transportation at a standstill, points of sale became off-limits and several tonnes of Murukku have gone to waste. Speaking to TNIE, Manoharan, a manufacturer from Manapparai. said, "We make about 60 kg of Murukku daily and sales would amount to Rs 1.5 lakh a month in normal times. Sales have been badly hit by the lockdown. Several tonnes have gone to waste in the earlier lockdowns and even after relaxations, with no transport, demand has been non-existent."
He said many units have shut down and the few operating manage to meet local demand. A unit barely manufactures 20 kg a day in the lockdown..
Murugan, a middleman, said, "We would purchase from local units and carry the snack to bus stands and railway stations to sell to passengers. On an average day, we can make Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 with Rs 300 to Rs 500 set aside for wages. The rest of the money would be kept to buy stocks but as trains and buses stopped services following the lockdown, we lost our jobs. Many of us are now daily wagers."