All thanks to the twin blows of demonetisation and indefinite economic blockade, Asia’s biggest all-women market in Manipur, Ima Keithel is reeling. Since the economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC), business is down by as much as 50%.
What is Ima Keithel?
Ima Keithel is Asia’s biggest all-women market. Known as the ‘market for mothers’, the market is entirely controlled by some 5000 women. They sit in rows selling an array of items – from clothes to handloom products, bread to biscuits, jewellery to cosmetics, knives to utensils, dry fish to beads etc. While some items are locally produced, others are brought from outside the state.
Blockade has spoilt business
Among the traders, very few of them speak Hindi but it is evident from their gestures that they were not happy over the enforcement of the blockade by the UNC. A couple of them, who spoke the language, said they wanted the blockade to go as it has affected their business drastically. To attract customers, they have to sell their wares at much lower price. However at the same time, they feel that the Government should talk to the UNC for a solution of the conflict.
‘We hope that good sense will prevail. The blockade has spoilt our business. There has been an alarming reduction in the number of shoppers due to the spiralling prices’, they told the media.
Opinion on creation of new districts
Despite the opposition crying foul, alleging that the Congress government created the seven districts to gain mileage in the upcoming Assembly elections, many of them back their Chief Minister. Many Meiteis back CM Okram Ibobi Singh’s assertion that it was done for the purpose of ‘administrative conveniences’.
‘There is no politics in it. Previously, we had nine districts and now it has gone up to 16. This will help administrators to look after people’s welfare and other issues in better ways’, they added.