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FROM PLASTIC BAGS TO PAITHANIS

Friday, May 19, 2017
By Steffy Thevar

Next time you go shopping for your weekly sabji you could stand to win an authentic Maharashtrian style Paithani sari! The unique initiative is the brainchild of Nashik farmers who hold a weekly Farmers Market in Dongri. Each person who opts to bring cloth bags for their veggies instead of plastic non-degradable bags stands a chance to win the weekly lottery and a sari! More initiatives like this can stop the disturbing littering of our streets and the choking of our drains with deadly plastic pishwis.

Nashik farmers join hands with BMC to curb the problem of growing plastic bags in the special farmers market. Those using cloth bags stand a chance to participate in a lucky draw and win a Paithani saree

In a positive initiative by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) B ward, those preferring cotton bags over plastic bags will be rewarded with a Paithani saree, Maharashtra's very own silk sarees. This initiative was started when farmers from Nashik collaborated with the B ward Assistant commissioner, Uday Shirurkar. This unique market provides groceries and fresh farm vegetables at subsidized rates and also rewards those taking care of the environment.

A Special Farmer's Market has been started on the street opposite Sandhurst road wherein, farmers from Nashik bring their products and sell at a low price. Fresh vegetables can also be bought over here. Since the past five months, every Thursday this market opens and has been a hit amongst locals. Shirurkar said, “The reason for the growing popularity of this market is because the products are available at a low price. Wheat which is sold for Rs 35 in the market is sold over here for Rs 25. Now, people are happy as they can buy up to 10 kgs of wheat and farmers are also happy as there is no middle man. The vegetables are also fresh.” This market starts from 7 am in the morning every week.

While the crowd grows, it also means that the littering increases as well, Shirurkar observed that many people got plastic bags to the market. Further, to get rid of this problem, he came up with an idea. “We have started a lottery system wherein, all those who bring cotton bags or cloth bags to the market will be given a token. These tokens will then be put in a lottery and a lucky winner will win a Paithani saree. The saree is given by the farmers who come from a nearby village named, Yewle, which is famous for its sarees.”

This initiative has received a huge boost and people are turning up in huge numbers to win these sarees as they purchase fresh farm food.
 

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