Namrup: After the iconic ‘Ima Keithel’ in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, comes another all-women’s market — but this time in neighbouring Assam.
Located in Namrup, a small town located in the extreme southeastern part of the state, the market, run entirely by women, opened its doors to the public about three weeks ago.
Every Wednesday, the weekly market comes alive with stalls selling everything from organic fruits and vegetables, food items and meat to colourful flowers, home-made eatables, handicrafts and household items.
“Several self-help groups were formed in Namrup with the initiation of the municipal board in Namrup. Right now, there are 35 such groups. We contributed Rs 10,000 to each group in order to make them self-sustainable. There are several bodies such as the gram panchayats who have provided their helping hand to start the market,” said Neetu Sonowal Buragohain, chairperson, Namrup Municipal Board.
The weekly market is the result of the ‘Kanaklata Mahila Sabalikaran Asoni’, a scheme launched in April last year by the state government for generating sustainable livelihood avenues for the womenfolk of the region.
Even though the business is yet to be brisk, women here are optimistic and confident that the market will bloom in the near future. The market serves another important purpose as it symbolises the empowerment of women in this small town of Assam.
“Our motive is to serve organic products in the market and we are hopeful that the traders will be able self-sustain through the market here,” the chairperson added.
These self-help groups have indeed made the most of the flagship scheme. Just three weeks old, they are already making new inroads as their businesses take flight. Undoubtedly, such markets are an illustration of a new society.