Bhubaneswar: When Maa Mahalaxmi Self-help Group in Banijhara was selected to procure paddy in the gram panchyat(GP) under unagarh Block of Kalahandi District during this Rabi season, the women members were very excited. But, they were not sure of the job. But, then within 30 days when they procured nearly 41,000 quintals of paddy, their confidence consolidated. Today they have already received Rs 6.25 lakh in their account as commission and have earned a total amount of Rs 12.94 lakh. They plan to use this money to buy a van for transportation to the nearby markets.

Like Maa Mahalaxmi, 16 other WSHGs have started paddy procurement in the district as a pilot project. Till now the 17 SHGs have procured 2.47 lakh quintals of paddy amounting to 44.15 crore with the commission to SHGs being 77.24 lakh. On an average an SHG has earned 4.5 lakh during the rabi procurement in Kalahandi. Seeing the success of paddy

The SHG is now using a laptop with a printer to enable online operation in paddy procurement. The group has hired the services of a DEO and a book keeper from among the locality to help them.

The Women Self-help Groups ( WSHGs) in Odisha have started paddy procurement on behalf of the State government. About 17 WSHGs in 17 gram panchayats (GPs) of Kalahandi districts have procured 41,000 quintals of paddy this season.

The success of Kalahandi experiment has now made the State Women & Child Development department and the Mission Shakti department to engage the WSHGsgroups in Khariff paddy procurement in other districts of the State.

There are about Six lakh WSHGs comprising of 70 lakh women of the state under Mission Shakti. The WSHGs are now involved in diverse activities like making of LED bulbs, running buses under the Biju Gaon Gadi, supplying Take Home Ration under the ICDS programme, electricity meter reading and civil construction.

The ruling BJD had promised during the last elections that one coming to power the government would give Rs 5000 crore worth of business to the WSHGs.