Jorhat, June 12 : Betbari Shyam Gaon, a non-descript village in Assam's Jorhat District, is an example of how available means and resources can be generated to feed the people.
Bringing about this novel change is Hasna Shyam, who started a self-help group 'Sanghamitra', with the help of twelve women in 2002.
The group has provided employment to many women, but has helped in opening up thirty-three other self-help groups thereby making women of the village a productive force. It produces handloom goods and earns forty thousand a month for itself.
"There is huge demand of our product in national and international market. I decided to start a separate marketing section. I have now set up 33 self-help groups," said Shyam.
Thormet Shyam, an IT professional, is another pioneering entrepreneur in Jorhat, who has used the traditional agricultural practices of the village in changing the lives of the people.
Failing to get a government job, he came to the village and with the help of the bank loan of 17000 rupees he started a farm for rice cultivation.
"Since 90s, I have been looking for a job, but was not able to get. Then I applied for a loan from SBI, Titabar division and got 17,000 rupees. With the money, I have set up this farm where I've planted various types of vegetables," said Shyam.
Today, he has set an example for other youth who in frustration join militant groups.
In the same way, thirty-year-old Mohinder Shyam did not lose hope when he could not a government job despite having adequate professional qualification.
With the help of thirty thousand rupees loan from the bank, he started fishery farming. Now, he is the owner of three ponds and employer of at least thirty people.
"I have chosen to do this as it has benefited in earning my livelihood. It is profitable. I passed my matriculation and did an ITI course from Jorhat. After this, I started a fishery farm and now have my own ponds. I want more young people to get involved in self employed occupation," said Shyam.
Nearly 90,000 self-help groups are active in rural Assam. They are mostly in the field of handloom, agriculture, fishery farming, poultry and dairy.
Self-help groups have in recent times got further momentum with the initiation of Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar. Yojana (SGSY), a central government program aimed at eradicating rural poverty. y Vaschipem Kamondang