North-East festival gives big business boost
The sixth edition of North East Festival which was held at IGNCA from October 26-28, provided a new high to the business. Food-stall owners, weavers, and first-time entrepreneurs were elated by the response they bagged during the three-day cultural extravaganza. Not only their crafts, foods, and artefacts got an international recognition but also they got due credit in the domestic and international market.
Shyamkanu Mahanta, chief organiser of the festival is glad that the fest has given exposure to the budding entrepreneurs. "We haven't charged a single penny from the stall owners. We just had charged a very nominal amount from the food stall owners for cleaning the food venue. Rest everything here is free of cost for them. I am glad that they had a good business here. I wish them a very best and already inviting them for next year too," he said.
Sushant Phukan, a promising entrepreneur who earned Rs 1,80,000, has been putting up his textile stall from last three years but this year his textiles got international buyers. He mostly deals with North Eastern fabrics be it cotton, Muga Silk or Eri silk, which he mixes them to get a fine texture.
Even food stalls are getting quite popular among the audience and specialty of most of the stalls are getting over within a very short time. The owner of the food joint, Hemanka Gogoi, said he hasn't expected that his stall will have a turnover of Rs 3,50,000 in three days.
"We are really happy that people have become a fan of our food. The biggest compliment which we have received so far is that one of the couples told us that they haven't eaten such tasty pork gravy in their lifetime," Gogoi added.
It was not only Assamese cuisines or crafts which are a hit among the festival goers. Food from Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Tripura was also equally popular. First-time stall owner Davidson Shangpliang from Shillong was amazed to see the kind of reception his Khasi food had achieved in the festival.
"I had not expected that there would be so much demand for Khasi food. But the biggest drawback in the festival was lack of manpower for us. I just had five people to manage everything right from the preparation of food to managing the stall. Yet, we did well actually," he said.
While the live kitchens did well, debutant Juhaal, an online authentic Assamese kitchen product, and ready-to-cook food items were not left behind. Overall, the festival was a huge success.