Mahila Haat in name alone

The ‘Mahila Haat’ seem to have run out of women within a week of its opening, as, increasingly, men seem to be managing the stalls. At least a dozen shops have male sales persons.

The local civic body has allotted 39-odd shops to women on condition that men should not be allowed to sell in these shops. Moreover, it is unable to attract women visitors due to less variety of products in comparison to Delhi Haat or other weekly markets.

When Millennium Post visited Mahila Haat on Saturday, men were found selling in at least a dozen of the 39 -odd shops. Some were jointly run by men and women. Hardly, a dozen shops were being managed by women alone. The stall numbers 3,7,12,13,16,18,23,37 and 39 as well as the food courts had only men.

‘It doesn’t look like a women-only shopping place but a mixed one like Delhi Haat. The choice is also not  much and things are priced quite expensively,’ said Shabnam, 24,  a resident of Dariya Ganj who came to visit the shop with her friends and family after reading about it in newspapers. ‘The plays, dances and songs presented here are also performed mainly by men,’ she added pointing towards the stage where Kauwali song was performed by a group of all men party. Another traditional ‘horse dance’ was being performed by a man in the Haat.

The Mahila Haat was inaugurated with much fanfare last Saturday with a vision to empower women and provide an exclusive women-only shopping destination.

As per the rule of ‘Mahila Haat’, men shoppers are allowed only if accompanied by a woman. The project was developed in the Asaf Ali parking lot near Delhi Gate at a cost of Rs 2 crore. It was conceived in 2009 by erstwhile Muncipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and  now falls under the jurisdiction of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The municipal body has leased it out to the textile ministry and some registered NGOs working for women empowerment. It was earlier scheduled to be completed before the Commonwealth Games.
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