Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fifty piping hot years of Indian Coffee House

If you nip a cup of hot java at the Indian Coffee House, you lend to the
cause of the workings class. The popular eating house chain, tally by workers’
cooperatives, Marks its aureate jubilee this
year. There are about 70 Indian
Coffee Houses in Kerala that dish out idli, dosa, vada, biryani and of course
coffee among other things. But since the concatenation have subdivisions all over India, the
fare changes from part to
region. You can be certain of
tasty, clean and reasonably priced menu at the Indian Coffee House. The Kerala
branches work under two workers’ societies, one based at Thrissur and
the other in Kannur. “We
serve 10,000 afternoon repasts a twenty-four hours and 25,000 people visit our 17 outlets
daily,” said I Volt Sivaraman, president of the Kannur-based Indian Coffee
Board Workers’ Cooperative Society. The all-India subdivisions are under their
respective regional societies, most of which are affiliated to the All India
Coffee Workers’ Cooperative Societies’
Federation. The societies in Kerala
were put up in 1958 and are celebrating their aureate jubilee this year. It was a
year earlier in 1957 that the java houses came to be owned by workers. The
Coffee Board, which was running these restaurants, decided to fold them and
retrench the
workers. Witnessing the plight
of workers, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader A Kelvin Gopalan, the
first leader of the resistance in the Indian parliament, organised them and
founded the Indian Coffee Board Workers’ Cooperative Society. The first
society was put up in Bangalore on August 19,
1957. “Now, there are 11
Indian Coffee Board Workers’ Societies in the state and they have got more
than 300 restaurants. There are also three societies which are not affiliated to
the all-India federation,” states Sivaraman, who is also proxy president of
the federation. “The
society is truly a workers’ cooperative. The president is elected from
among the workers. Any worker can contend the polls. The society is run by a
board of directors, with workers as members,” said V. Sasidharan Nair,
president of the Thrissur-based workers’ cooperative
society. “We have got 52
restaurants across Kerala. Last twelvemonth the turnover rate was Rs 340 million. The
society is a non-profit organisation. As a workers’ venture the profit
will travel as benefits to them,” helium added. The java houses vouch that their
aim is to supply quality nutrient at a low
cost. “You cognize how the
price of provisions, especially rice, went up here. We did not tramp the prices
proportionately,” said
Sivaraman. The Kannur society
clocked a Rs 130-million turnover rate last fiscal year. However, the net income was
only Rs 115,000. “This shows that we are not for profiteering. As a
workers’ cooperative, we give all the benefits to our workers, just like
in a authorities service,” states Sivaraman.

No comments: