Vol. 4 Num 318 Wed. April 21, 2004  

Fund crisis halts it halfway
Kuakata Rakhain Women Market boosts handicrafts, local textiles

The Rakhain Women Market in Kuakata sea beach has opened the door to better life for Rakhain community people by boosting local handicrafts production.

It is an attractive spot for tourists as various types of lucrative handicrafts and fashionable garments made with handloom textiles produced by Rakhain women are sold there at cheaper rates. Tourists flock to the market in large numbers.

But construction of the market, started long ago, is yet to be completed, some women shop owners lamented while talking to this correspondent recently.

Once completed, the market could attract more tourists, they said.

The construction began in 1998 with funds from the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). Rakhain people donated the land for the market.

Sixteen shops have so far been built with Tk 20 allocated by the LGED out of the projected cost of Tk 1.5 crore, sources said.

Construction is stopped for three years due to lack of funds.

LGED sources here said more Tk 20 lakh has been allocated in the current financial year and tender for the work has been floated. Seven more shops, a Rakhain food centre and toilet for women will be built with the money.

Talking to this correspondent, Mon Than, 25, a Rakhain women shop owner, said, "The market has opened the scope to sell home-made handicrafts and a better life for my family".

Sales woman Chan Chan So said she got a chance to work and earn more money for her family. Once completed, the market will promote local handicrafts, she said.

No more exploitation by middlemen... Rakhain women in Kuakata now sell their home-made handicrafts at the Rakhain Women Market at the sea beach. PHOTO: STAR