In its latest bid to revive the ‘Mahila Haat’, an ambitious project of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to provide space and impetus to women entrepreneurs, the corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).
With the objective of serving as a marketplace for women artisans and entrepreneurs, the Haat will also serve as a cultural centre, “thereby encouraging and promoting entrepreneurship and skill development at the grassroots level among women”.
The project was relaunched Sunday and “a centrally located area has been allocated by the Delhi government”.
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First inaugurated by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in November 2012, the Haat was said to be “a revolutionary step in the upliftment and empowerment of women”. It was constructed on the lines of Dilli Haat, to serve as a retail space for women artisans.
But the project failed to take off due to several issues with the structure. “The place did not have a roof and used to get too hot in the summer. There was no respite during the rains as well. Besides, it was not promoted as it should have been,” said an official.
The Haat was meant to be a space for women entrepreneurs from the walled city “where, due to restrictions, they could not move out and market
It was first proposed in 2008 and was constructed at a cost of Rs 2 crore in February 2011. Because of weak initial response from women artisans, the inauguration was delayed till the end of 2012. The NDMC commissioner said although structural changes to the Haat have been proposed, they could not be carried out because of the multi-level underground parking in its basement.
FLO President, Archana Garodia Gupta said, “The Mahila Haat Project will bring a change to the lives of women artisans, craftpersons and entrepreneurs socially and economically.”