The weekly market at Umden, Ri-Bhoi, reopened today after nine months of being shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Highland Post, the office in charge of the market who is also the Dolloi of the Manih clan, Special Manih, said the market reopened today for the first time since March 23 and is operating according to strict health protocols.
“We have engaged volunteers who will look to see that strict protocols are followed by both the buyers and sellers in this market given the pandemic and we have also set up a wash basin for the people to use and people in need of any assistance can reach us at the Dorbar Hall nearby,” he said.
The shutdown resulted in great hardship to the people of over 50 villages who are dependent on this market with over 400 shops.
He also said that the shutdown has also badly affected local farmers from the area who bring their produce to the market.
Despite reopening officially, only 50 stalls were occupied and the number of customers was also low as many were not aware that it was open for business again.
“The average revenue generated for Hima Mylliam from the market during normal times was Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a month,” Manih informed.
Local food items used to be popular among shoppers, such as bamboo shoots, yam, betel leaf, pumpkin, niang ryndia (silkworm), wild vegetables and herbs.
Manih, however, lamented that the market area, which is about 600 square metres, needs to be cemented and more toilets and other facilities need to be built.