JAMMU, FEB 11: Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo today inaugurated the 2nd edition of the SARAS Aajeevika Mela, a vibrant 11-day event highlighting the resilience and creativity of rural women entrepreneurs. Organized by the Jammu & Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM) under the Department of Rural Development & Panchayti Raj, the exhibition opened its doors to a diverse array of art, craft, culture, and cuisine, echoing the spirit of ‘vocal for local.’
He was accompanied by Secretary Rural Development Department and Panchayati Raj, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary; Mission Director J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, Indu Kanwal Chib; Additional Mission Director JKRLM Jammu, Mridhu Slathia, Additional Mission Director JKRLM Kashmir, Riyaz Ahmad Beigh and other concerned.
Speaking at the inauguration, Chief Secretary emphasized the significance of the exhibition as a platform for rural women from across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, to exhibit and market their products. He underscored the importance of providing broader exposure and support to ensure the self-reliance of rural women.
Atal Dulloo personally inspecting stalls from 15 States, alongside those representing all districts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh UT. He engaged with exhibitors, inquiring about the uniqueness of their offerings and commending their entrepreneurial spirit.
Later, Chief Secretary toured the food stalls, featuring traditional delicacies from various states alongside authentic cuisines from Jammu & Kashmir. This initiative not only showcases the rich culinary diversity but also promotes cultural exchange and economic empowerment.
Featuring over 220 rural women from across 15 states, the SARAS Aajeevika Mela provides a platform for self-help group women artisans to exhibit their exemplary craftsmanship, artistry, and traditional skills.
The event showcases a rich tapestry of Pan India, with 60 unique stalls, including 40 from outside the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, displaying a fusion of products from different regions of India.
Visitors to the SARAS Aajeevika Mela can expect a diverse range of beautifully crafted handloom and handicraft products, such as textiles, pottery, woodwork, metalwork, and paintings. Traditional music and dance performances will add to the vibrant ambiance, celebrating the cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.
The main objective of the SARAS Aajeevika Mela is to provide a platform for rural women to display their goods, create a market for them to sell their products directly to customers, and understand customer preferences and choices. Additionally, the Mela aims to enhance and reinvent products and sharpen the marketing abilities of the rural women artisans.
In line with promoting financial independence, the fair also serves as a platform for self-help group (SHG) members supported by the Jammu & Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission to exhibit and sell their products. Each stall at the Mela is managed by confident and empowered women SHG members, offering a wide range of products that cater to diverse tastes and preferences.
The SARAS Aajeevika Jammu 2.0 will not only feature exhibitions and sales, but also various cultural programs and activities to engage and entertain visitors. The organizers are also committed to promoting sustainable practices, such as avoiding the use of plastic by encouraging cloth bags and paper packaging. Waste management systems will be put in place to ensure cleanliness and hygiene throughout the event.
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela will be open daily from 10 am to 8:00 pm, offering visitors the opportunity to explore around 60 stalls displaying a variety of art and craft. In addition, a workshop will be organized for women from self-help groups to enhance their marketing skills.