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Ex-militants to make sanitary pads, run rice mills in Assam

Guwahati: The hands that once trained to fire guns are now learning to make sanitary pads in Assam’s Udalguri district.

Former women militants are being trained in making sanitary napkins by the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) administration, with commercial production of a unit expected to commence soon.

“Rehabilitation of former militants is very important. We have tried to find out their areas of interest and expertise, and then train and engage them accordingly,” Pramod Boro, chief executive member of BTR, said here on Saturday.

He said that besides the financial assistance provided to surrendered militants by the central and state governments, the BTR is also helping them in finding employment.

“We have launched several flagship programmes. Among them is forming cooperatives of former militants and helping them etch out livelihoods,” the BTR chief said.

The programme has been named ‘Fin Rwdwmkhang’ (Mission Blossom Again).

“From rice mills to sanitary pad-making units, different cooperatives are coming up under it,” Boro added.

Sharing details of the Mission, Binual Warry, general secretary of its governing body, told PTI that a target has been set to establish 30 cooperatives, involving mostly former militants.

Of these, 21 cooperatives have already been formed and eight of these have also got schemes sanctioned, he said.

Five of the sanctioned schemes are for setting up rice mills, one for a dairy processing unit and another for a stevia processing unit.

“The eighth cooperative is an all-women one, which will produce sanitary pads. It is coming up in Udalguri. The machine, provided by Niti Ayog, has already been installed and customised training provided to them.”

“We hope to start production within a couple of months,” Warry, a former top militant of a now-disbanded faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), said.

All products under this Mission will be sold under the brand ‘Rwdwm’ (bud), he added.

Boro, speaking at a press conference here to mark the completion of three years in office, maintained that restoration of peace and harmony, and putting a stop to violence have been the priority of his administration.

“We are glad to say there have been no major incidents of violence, bandhs or communal conflicts in BTR in the last three years. Peace has been restored and people no longer live in fear,” he asserted.

The BTR chief also said the ‘misunderstanding’ that was there among Bodos and non-Bodos in the region is being resolved and local people are being involved for it.

“We have launched a ‘Happiness Mission’ through which youths and community leaders are being trained to intervene in case of any problem between different communities,” he said.

“I am also meeting representatives of different communities residing in BTR and working on resolving all differences,” Boro added.

(Published 16 December 2023, 14:09 IST)

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