TAMIL NADU

'Rural bazaar' to market self-help groups' products

CUDDALORE, OCT. 7. Cuddalore Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi today opened the "Rural Bazaar," meant for exclusively marketing products of Self-Help Groups.

The Rs. 28 lakh building has 11 rent-free shops on the ground floor, and the District Supply Marketing Committee office and a small conference room on the first floor.

The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) spent Rs 4.76 lakhs on interior/exterior decoration. A mini-waterfall, with water flowing from the first floor balcony to the ground floor pond, has also been set up. A roadside park is being laid in front of the building.

The bazaar will collectively market SHG products under the brand name "Suya Jothi." The shops will sell provisions, chips, pickles, bakery items, soft drinks, terracotta articles, sanitary napkins and other products.

The 15 saleswomen have been selected from among the SHG members and trained in Annamalai University. The District Supply Marketing Committee will run the bazaar.

DRDA project officer Jagannathan said there were 1.35 lakh SHG members in the district, and if they patronised the products, the bazaar could turn a profit. A modest turnover of Rs 25 lakhs had been fixed up to March 2005, which is expected to touch Rs 50 lakhs annually, he added.

Location

However, the location of the bazaar has been criticised as being too far from the commercial hub of the town. Buyers would have to take an auto-rickshaw or a bus to reach the bazaar.

It is felt that if the market was located near the main bus stand or near the Manjakuppam vegetable market, it could have attracted more people.