Gangtok, July 15(IPR): Hon’ble Minister for Forest and Environment Department, Shri Karma Loday Bhutia inaugurated the Local Marketing Space for Self Help Groups (SGGs) at Forest Secretariat, D Block, opposite GMC, today.
The initiative has been supported by JICA assisted Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project(SBFB) under Forest and Environment Department, Government of Sikkim, to provide a platform to display and marketing of the local products.
The inaugural function also had the presence of Project Director cum Chief Conservator of Forest, Territorial(CCFT), Shri N.W. Tamang, Additional Project Director, Shri D. Manjunathan, DFO JFM, SBFB, Mrs Shewani Pradhan along with other senior Forest officials and members of SHGs.
At the onset, Hon’ble Minister visited the new stalls in the marketing space and felicitated the members of the SHGs.
Congratulating the SHGs on the inaugural function, Hon’ble Minister urged the respective SHGs to sell quality products at competitive prices to the customers and assured that all possible help and support will be provided by the Forest Department for smooth operation and streamlining of their businesses in the future.
He further mentioned that this was a good initiative taken by the Forest Department and also added that the Department has initiated several unique strategies to promote SHGs socially and economically, and has recognised SHG as a tool for women empowerment under the leadership of the visionary Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Prem Singh Tamang.
Earlier, during the inaugural function, Divisional Forest Officer, JFM SBFP, Smt Shewani Pradhan informed that SBFP has adopted179 JFMC/EDC till date. She further mentioned that a block grant of Rs 1,80,000 has been provided to each Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC)/Eco-Development Club(EDC). The JFMC/EDC, in turn, provide loans to SHGs at Rs 60,000 at minimal interest for income-generating activities.
She further informed that space is being provided on a quarterly rotation basis to provide an opportunity to all interested SHGs for a minimal rent of Rs 30/per day.
The three SHGs opting for marketing include Hope SHG, Kopibari, Shyari, Pulyong SHG Bojhoghari and Mahila Shakti SHG, Kopibari, Shyari.
Various semi and processed food products, vegetables, flowers, local snacks, sweets, pickles, handicrafts (wood, cloth and paper) cotton/silk handlooms and traditional apparel etc are available at the Local Marketing Space for sale to the customers.