State's only supermarket run by women faces closure

State's only supermarket run by women faces closure

The State’s first and only supermarket meant exclusively for selling the products of micro- and macro-women entrepreneurs and Self Help Groups (SHGs) faces imminent closure because of poor patronage and the occupants’ inability to pay the increasing rent.

 

Opened in August 2009 in the city’s busy Super Market area, the supermarket is in crisis today and needs an immediate government bailout. The supermarket, with 15 shops, functioned on the first floor of Janata Bazaar for two years, before being shifted to the congested basement of the building as the occupants could not afford to pay the high rent. Six of the 15 entrepreneurs have already shut up shop. 

“The nine remaining entrepreneurs may follow suit if the landlord keeps on increasing the rent and the enterprise becomes financially unviable,” said Yugantri Deshmanya, president of Muskan Stree Shakti, an SHG which has taken the lead to run the supermarket. 

Until 2009, SHGs used to market their products only at exhibitions organised in different places. They lacked a dedicate marketplace to sell their products. 

Permanent facility

The then secretary of Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Board, Shalini Rajneesh, came forward to address their need for a marketplace. She roped in the entrepreneurs of Gulbarga and the Hyderabad Karnataka Development Centre of the Gulbarga University to provide a permanent marketing facility for the SHGs. Accordingly, about 2,300 sq ft was taken on lease on the first floor of Janata Bazar — a vantage point as it is located in the heart of Gulbarga. 

The Krishna Grameen Bank gave loans to the SHGs under its marketing assistance scheme. For the first year, the HK Development Centre footed Rs 33,000 per month towards rent, electricity and water charges. The entrepreneurs were to bear the expenditure from the second year onwards. 

Deshmanya said they just about managed to pay the rent for the second year. Thereafter, the shops were shifted to the basement at a monthly rent of Rs 12,000, which was to be shared equally by the occupants. The SHGs make mainly traditional products such as handicrafts, files, agarbattis, candles, embroidery items, clothes, woollen and wire baskets, pickles, papad and fryums and objects used during festivals, marriages, traditional rituals. 

Kamala, an entrepreneur, said it would be great if Chief Minister Siddaramaiah did something for them in the upcoming State budget. She said the newly formed H-K Region Development Board, which has to spend Rs 150 crore in the two remaining months of 2013-14 fiscal year, might come to their rescue. 

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