In the Adivasi Sadri language, epil means star. Under the same name, Bina Topno leads a team of 10 women at a village called Chetiajaan in Dibrugarh district and they are rising like a star in the field of poultry farming.
‘Earlier as seasonal tea garden labourers, we worked for about six months in a year plucking leaves and remained idle for the rest of the year. In 2005, we started a self help group with a mere contribution of R 50 from our members. Again, we collected R 30 from each member to start a poultry farm in our village. And we haven’t look back after that,’ says Topno.
In 2010, the SHG got a government assistance of R 25,000 and expanded their business. Once they returned their debt, they received another loan of R 2 lakh from the government, which boosted the confidence of the group. ‘If we invest money on 200 chickens, we can earn upto R 15,000 in 45 days. We help our fellow members when they are in need of money. That is big relief for us as we don’t need to look to others in times of crisis,’ asserts Topno.
Impossible is nothing
It’s a well known fact that despite the tea industry being the most well organised industry of the country, the labour sector associated with it is the most unorganised. ‘Earlier, we found it difficult to run our families even. But things have changed now. We have very good markets in Duliajan and Dibrugarh for our products. I believe one should dream and chase it. Nothing is impossible to a willing heart,’ says Topno
Recently, Epil has opened a tent house and they are doing brisk business in its nearby areas. ‘There are many SHGs in our area. We, however, always lead by example. Basking in the glory of success, we haven’t stopped dreaming. We have a long a way to go,’ sums up Bina Topno.