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Buyer-seller pavilion set up for self-help groups in State

R. Sujatha

Minister inaugurates 10-day exhibition by SHG women

— PHOTO: S.S. KUMAR

SHOWCASING CREATIVITY: Local Administration and Rural Industries Minister M.K. Stalin interacts with SHG members here at an exhibition-cum-sale organised by the TNCDW in Chennai on Saturday.

CHENNAI: For women it is hard work. Thangapandiammal of Tirumangalam in Madurai, a skillful potter, specialises in terracotta items. She learnt the art a month ago and her pieces are handmade. After six months she would be trained to use a roller that would make her job easier.

Geethalakshmi of Thendral Kootamaippu from Tiruvannamalai district could not bring the coir-making equipment to Chennai. So, the women use their nimble fingers to prepare coir from banana stem to weave baskets, coasters and trays.

K. Jakkammal from Perambaluar district carves images of deities on wood, using only an iron chisel. She manages to make two panels a month, which fetches her Rs. 500, but she says her fingers ache sometimes and she ends up postponing her work by a day or two.

These women are demonstrating their skill at the 10-day exhibition inaugurated by Local Administration and Rural Industries Minister M.K. Stalin here on Saturday.

In an effort to ensure better marketing of products for self-help groups (SHGs) in the State, the Government has put up a buyer-seller pavilion where women from SHGs can interact with customers wishing to place bulk orders. Availability of samples is the only criterion.

Already, Ambattur Cloth Factory and Venkateshwara Poli Stall have hinted that they would like to place bulk orders for textile and cashewnuts.

The nuts are being procured from Cuddalore and Villupuram.

Officials of the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women (TNCDW) are expecting to get a good market for products made by these women. “Last year, we sold goods worth Rs. 80 lakh. This year, we expect to cross Rs. 1 crore,” said an official.

As more and more customers seem to prefer eco-friendly items, the officials expect banana coir products to sell well. They also expect bulk orders for SHGs dealing in cashewnuts.

The value of products exhibited is estimated to be worth Rs. 53 lakh, they said.

The officials had trained 23,000 women, with support from 50 private and government institutions such as CIPET, NIFT and the polytechnics last year.

The exhibition at Vijaya Mahal in Pondy Bazaar has 30 stalls, each representing a district. Officials say each stall has products made by at least 10 SHGs in the district.

The exhibition-cum-sale is on from 9 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.

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