Demonetisation has led to the cancellation of the most sought-after annual events in Pune’s cultural calendar — the Bhimthadi Jatra. The event, organised every year by the Agriculture Development Trust, Baramati, the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Rahuri, and Maharashtra government’s Agriculture Department, was scheduled to be held from December 9 to 12 at the Agricultural College Ground in Shivajinagar.
“Considering demonetisation and its impact across the country, we held a meeting last week and decided to postpone the event. We have already paid the rent amount for the ground where it was scheduled to be held. If the event is not held before March, the amount will lapse. We are yet to finalise the dates but we will have to organise the Jatra before March,” said P Jadhav, coordinator of the Agriculture Development Trust, Baramati.
Launched in 2006, Bhimthadi Jatra has seen the participation of an increasing number of Self Help Groups (SHGs) from across Maharashtra. The Jatra was organised with a number of goals — to educate women about food processing, medicinal herbs, plants and organic farming, to provide goods produced by women to the urban and sub-urban market, and to expose rural women to various initiatives at the national and international level, among others.
The Jatra also gives traditional groups such as the Waghya Murali, Pingla, Potraj, Kudmudya Jyotishi and Gondhali an opportunity to display their lifestyle, art and skills. In 2008 and 2009, over 1,300 SHGs participated in the Jatra, which showcases various food stalls and consumer products.
Over the years, the Jatra has turned into an annual market for SHGs across the state to sell their products.
“This year, we are expecting close to 400 SHGs to participate in the event. However, had we gone ahead with the festival, the SHGs would have suffered major losses and the very purpose of organising the festival – empowering rural women – would have been defeated. Now we will try to organise the festival in the first week of March. We hope that the cash crunch situation in the country will ease out by then,” said Sachin Khalate, project officer, Agriculture Development Trust, Baramati.