Imphal, September 13: Bijayashanti Tongbram, a young woman from Thanga village in Bishnupur District of Manipur, carved a niche for herself by coming up with a unique idea of churning yarn from a lotus stalk.
Given the popularity of Thanga, being a tourist place as it is an island on Loktak lake, Tongbram came up with the idea of generating income by tapping into the available resources like the lotus.
She was also informed about the art of making yarn out of the lotus stalk, as it is common in Burma and Vietnam, from a family friend.
To enhance the potentiality, she also started reading journals and watched YouTube videos to gather information and inspirations on how to proceed further.
Interestingly, she successfully produced yarn out of the lotus stalk on her first try.
The 27-year-old science graduate was also among the beneficiaries of the Manipur Start-Up Conclave 2019 where she received a grant subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh from the government of Manipur.
The monetary aid from the government enabled her to expand her venture and hire 15 unemployed women from her area.
Through the allocation of work, she has produced scarfs, neckties, masks made of lotus yarn. “The material made of the lotus stalk is soft and is like silk in quality and texture,” Tongbram said.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of coronavirus has affected her work with the demand for the products dropping drastically.
Production has also reduced as many of her employees are scared to come and work during the pandemic.
With the hope of taking her business to the next level, Tongbram said, “I wish to expand my business by also looking at the possibility of making lotus tea.”
It may be mentioned that the Manipur government had on September 11 distributed a total subsidy amount of Rs. 525 lakh to 272 beneficiaries in Manipur Start-Up Conclave 2020.
“Opportunities will be given to youths, Manipur woman, who’ve returned from outside the State, leaving their jobs, to start their own business & become employers instead of employees,” Chief Minister N Biren Singh said.