By Y.S. RANA , CHANDIGARH—Though not exactly of the magnitude of “Lijjat Papad”, a similar-looking success story is being scripted by the HANS, set up by a group of professionals and environmentalists. The first-of-its-kind initiative “Honey Hut” started by the society at Shimla in 2008 not only providing a number of honey-based products ranging from food, body care to therapeutics all that too under one roof but also enables hundreds of unemployed youth to stand on their own feet by providing means of livelihood.
Honey Hut—with extremely stylish interiors, the huts present maximum comfort for all-young or old, family or friends. Started in 2008 with its first flag ship hut in Shimla since then it has opened 12 more such huts from Shimla to Mumbai and Jalandhar to Mussoorie. Buoyed up by the success and overwhelming response to its honey hut concept, it has decided to go global. Aims to create awareness about honey beyond medicines and provide option of natural drinks and foods with cosmetics to the health conscious people, is a unique concept café chain conceptualized by Paramjit Singh (Himachali) and Dr N.S Tomar, Ph.D in Food Technology.
Living up to its name, it has so far provided direct employment to over 70 unemployed youth and to around 2000 indirectly. Having 12 honey huts across the country, the society is planning to open more than 20 such huts in Jammu and Kashmir; Delhi; Punjab and Himachal Pradesh including Hamirpur and Kangra. From merely a turn-over of a few lakhs, now has annual turnover of Rs 6 crore.
While talking to Paramjit Singh, its general secretary said that soon the concept would go global. He has received a number of enquiries from Canada, America and England to start such huts there. “Modalities are being worked out and work of opening such huts in these countries will get final shape. We will train and arrange technical support to unemployed youth here and provide manpower there to man honey huts,” said Mr Singh.
He further stated that it has maintained Himalayan Bee Farm in Uttrakhand having 10,000 beehives associated beekeepers supported for production of best quality honey. The production, cultivation and packaging are certified by the various national and international agencies, he says.
Dwelling on the working of the society he said that it organized training programmes in rural areas; assisting them to set up their small scale business with finance and technology. Around 2000 youth are engaged in preparation of all honey-based products. With a view to facilitate marketing of their products, we have provided a platform in shape of honey huts. In turn it is a source of livelihood for the youths and income from sale of their products is ploughed back in to the fund, he said.
Vocational training and skill development are the only option to employ unemployed rural youths. The training has been market driven on the basis of market demand of skilled people and are expected to give ample opportunities to them. The programme has the provision to add new training activities as per the changing market scenario.
Sometimes walking the path less trodden is a conscious decision or sometimes it is by fault but journey is tough, feels Mr Singh. Now I realize I owe it to youth from villages because once upon a time I was grown up there and was also one of them, he said.
Now health conscious people shall be able to enjoy highly nutritive but low-colorie food at affordable prices at these honey huts across the country. And to sum it all, honey hut is exactly what we need in today’s health conscious society–a place where food is, what it is supposed to be—delicious and healthy.