No increase in visitors during Cheiraoba festival Handloom expo

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By Sapam Tarangchhen

IMPHAL, April 1: Most stalls at the ongoing 15 day long National Handloom expo earn atleast Rs 5000 to 30000 on a day, said a woman stall owner.

Commerce and Industry director John Thangtinkhuma had inaugurated the national expo on March 22 at the Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound.

The expo aimed at promotion of handloom products of the state visitors will continue till April 5, 2014.

Despite the claim of the stall owner, the turnout of visitors at the expo is visibly quite low.

The expo has altogether 61 stalls from different parts of the state selling many an eye catching designs of scarfs, well knitted bedsheets, Khudei, Phaneks, Sarees.

During a visit to the expo, this reporter met with the stall owners and visitors alike.

A stall owner said that in the past ten days of the expo, indigenous clothes like the Muka Phanek, Fee Matek, Longri and Khudei have been the main attractions.

A piece of Longri is being sold upto Rs 550, whereas the price of a Muka Fee could go from Rs 500 to Rs 3500, she added.

Cheiraoba, although one of the biggest festivals in the state, has failed to increase the number of visitors to the expo unlike the Ningol Chakkouba festival during which such expos are thronged by visitors, expressed Rupamanjuri Ningthoujam from Chingmeirong- a weaver who has opened a stall at the expo.

The 60 year old said she had taken a loan from the government and expanded her business, now she herself provide loans to young girls of Thoubal, Lamlai and Kongpal areas.

She said weavers if studious enough than they could easily run their families by selling handloom products.

On being asked how she came into the business of weaving, she said her late mother was into weaving Muka fee, and as a child she had learn from her mother.

Now, it has become a family business, and I am teaching my daughter like my mother taught me, she asserted.

The expo is being jointly organized by the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Government of India and the managing director, Manipur Handlooms and handicrafts Development Corporation Limited.

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