Jhunka Bhakar Kendra to move to Minerva parking lot
Anna Thorat said, “It was started when the State was hit by a drought in 1972 with several people from Marathwada coming to Mumbai and Pune in large numbers."
PUNE: Akhil Mandai Mandal’s iconic Jhunka Bhakar Kendra eatery has downed its shutters and is shifting to a new location at Minerva parking lot run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) nearby. This has been done after MahaMetro took over the land under its control to build the underground metro station at Mandai. The Kendra would work at a 1,000 sq ft facility.
The Kendra, which was started in 1972 by Appa Thorat, has fed several people at a minimal cost of Rs 50 paisa even though it has increased its price after 1990-91 due to financial slowdown.
Akhil Mandai Mandal President Anna Thorat said, “It was started when the State was hit by a drought in 1972 with several people from Marathwada coming to Mumbai and Pune in large numbers. All were labourers who used to visit our Kendra in Mandai. It was my father Appa Thorat’s wish that those who visited our Kendra should get a full meal at a minimum cost.”
Kusuma Dongre (68), a vegetable vendor, said, “I have been eating in this eatery for the last 35 years. During the initial days of business when I had no money, I would sustain on this 50 paisa jhunka bhakar. Even though the price has increased with time, it used to be our five-star hotel,” said Dongre.
The Kendra has staff of 15 persons who make ‘bhakri’.
Sangram (Anna) Jundale, another vegetable vendor, said, “As we were in the main market area, several people would visit us daily to buy the vegetables. Hence, we couldn’t go far to eat. That time, this Jhunka Bhakar Kendra used to be our eatery spot.”
Thorat said, “We started the Kendra on November 19, 1974, and this new Kendra will be shifted to Minerva parking lot from November 19, which is the birth anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.”
“Besides, the Kendra will now add a new variety of dishes in its menu,” said Thorat.
Kendra has had several visitors including former Mumbai mayor Manohar Joshi, former vice president BD Jatti, former chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan, Shankarrao Mohite-Patil and Army General (Retd) GG Bewoor.