Gundri Bazar promotes local entrepreneurs amid pandemic
Darjeeling: "Gundri Bazar," the community market of yesteryears came to live at the Darjeeling Mall on Thursday with the aim to promote budding entrepreneurs who returned to the Hills during the pandemic and lockdown along with local produce, products, art, crafts and food.
Incidentally "Gundri Bazar" had come into existence in the formative years of Darjeeling. Mostly local traders and merchants from the plains used to sell their wares ranging from vegetables to furs on the floors of what is now the Chowk Bazar. However time and urbanization finally had tolled the knell for the Gundri Bazar.
Vik-run Foundation along with Decibel, an event management company, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) have organized the three day "Gundri Bazar" at the Darjeeling Mall.
"Owing to the Pandemic many of the youths working outside returned to the Hills. Many set up their own businesses online, dealing in local produce, food, art, craft. Most of these budding entrepreneurs don't have shops. We decided to give them a platform as well promote local products. Our theme is Shop Local, Support Local Brands. We plan to take the event to Gangtok, Siliguri and Kolkata" stated Vikram Rai of Vik-run Foundation that supports marathon runners.
More than 40 stalls have been put up at the Mall selling local goods including food, pickles, mushroom, fermented food, Chillies (Dalley,) spices, plants, paintings by local artists and handicrafts.
"People have returned to the basics during this pandemic. We want the young people who have returned to stay back and run their businesses. We along with the MSME department of the Government of West Bengal will provide them support in the way of providing loans, machinery and even marketing" stated Sanjay Tibriwal, Vic Chairman, CII, North Bengal.
Nitesh Rai, Masters in Financial Economics used to work in Bangalore. "I have returned and started a business along with my family members dealing in pickles, fermented food and other local food. We sell online and have a very good response all over India."
The Gundri Bazar was an instant crowd puller, attracting both locals and tourists alike. "It is a very heartwarming experience for us to get a taste of traditional food and everything local" stated Koyel Sinha, tourist from Kolkata.