The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Marts get fair boost

Patna, June 8: Like neighbouring Jharkhand, Bihar, too, is all set to boast of air-conditioned vegetable superstores with a fair twist.

The marts to be set up at Patna, in their first phase, would be “manned” by women, who presently sell their wares on roadside.

At a meeting with the welfare department headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar the state decided to open “all-women” veggie marts on government lands.

Explaining the move, Nitish Kumar said: “As a part of our ongoing efforts to empower the state’s women, both socially and economically, we have decided to strengthen their businesses.” He added: “We wish to make them capable enough to compete against big houses entering the retail business.”

The secretary, welfare department, Vijay Prakash elaborated, “The government will form self-help groups among women, who sell vegetables, much like the milk cooperatives. Then we will allot shops at prominent trading centres, where residents usually go to shop. The places which have been targeted include the posh Maurya Lok Complex, Secretariat, Boring Road and Rajendra Nagar.”

Reliance, whose Reliance Fresh chain ran into controversy in Ranchi when local vendors vandalised the markets, had plans to open similar marts in Patna.

Without naming Reliance or any other group, the chief minister added: “The government’s main duty is to empower and enrich its own people first. No body can exploit the people if they are capable enough to compete in the market.”

Vijay Prakash said the women would run the shops under a banner of “Green Bihar” and will have an uniform. They would be provided with specialised training to handle electronic weighing machines, tips to improve their communication skills and carry out businesses, in the present day scenario.

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