Ice cream worth Rs 15 crore lost due to power cuts in Cyclone Amphan hit Kolkata
Power cuts triggered by Cyclone Amphan have destroyed ice-cream worth around Rs 15 crore in Kolkata and its suburbs in the last one week, according to estimates provided by industry players.
“The ice cream manufacturers, dealers and retailers who largely depend on power supply to preserve their stock have suffered massive losses. Our rough estimates suggest that around Rs 15 crore of ice cream has been destroyed because of the power cuts in Kolkata,” said the spokesperson of the Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (IICMA).
According to estimates provided by the IICMA, there are around 30,000 outlets, including neighbourhood shops, in the city and another 500 distributors. Each outlet on an average keeps a stock of ice cream worth Rs 5000 while the distributors keep a stock of Rs 40,000 – Rs 50,000 on any given day. This apart there are ice cream carts which would also need ice and in turn dependent on power supply.
“This entire stock has been lost. Once the ice cream melts it can’t be refrigerated and frozen again. It won’t retain the same texture, taste and look. Customers won’t like it any more. We are left with no option but to dump it,” said Sujit Pal, a local shop keeper near Anandapur in east Kolkata, where there was no power for nearly three days after the cyclone.
Almost the entire city had plunged into darkness after Cyclone Amphan hit Kolkata with a speed of 130 km per hour last Wednesday. Thereafter large parts of the city remained without power for at least five days at a stretch triggering protests and road blocks. The state government had blamed the private corporation which supplies power to the entire city.
But even as power has returned in Kolkata, several areas in cyclone-hit districts of south Bengal are still without electricity. The manufacturers are still suffering huge losses as there has been no production but money is being drained to maintain the stock.
“Our factory is near Dhulagarh in Howrah and there is still no power. We are spending around Rs 70,000 every day in diesel to run the generators just to maintain the stock and keep the machines running. Every day we used to produce around 50,000 litres of ice cream. But for the past seven days there has been no production,” said Gaurav Khemani, managing director of the company that produces Rollick Ice Cream.
According to estimates provided by the state government around 1.5 lakh km of electricity lines, including 30,000 km of high tension wire, have been snapped and 4.5 lakh electric poles have been uprooted in south Bengal districts where the cyclone hit.