Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday reopened the historic Ima Keithel (Mother’s market), almost a year after the market was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest development comes amid the prolonged closure of the historic market, and the reopening has brought great relief to over 4,000 women vendors at the market. Situated at the heart of Imphal, Ima Keithel is solely and managed by women. The market is said to be Asia’s largest market run by women.
Speaking at the reopening of the market function, CM Biren Singh said, “The patience they showed in the past 11 months was exemplary. The state government has decided to exempt vendor’s fees for one year to show our gratitude and respect. We will also provide a soft loan to street vendors and licensed holder vendors.”
Singh further said timely closure of Ima Keithel last year helped control spread of the pandemic up to a large extent. He thanked all the Imas (mothers) for their unstinting support and corporation.
The market was reopened with preventive measures by the Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) for COVID-19.
Speaking to EastMojo, 51-year-old Ima Yumnam Ibeiyaima said, “I am happy that our CM has officially reopened the market. We have been facing severe hardships since the closure of the market from March last year due to pandemic lockdown.”
The market will function at full capacity from tomorrow while maintaining social distancing, the woman vendor added.
The three iconic mother’s market, namely Purana Keithel, Laxmi Keithel and New Market, were closed from March 21, 2020, as a preventive measure amid the coronavirus pandemic.