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Ima Keithel market finally reopens after 10-month-long closure due to COVID

Imphal: Ten months after being closed for the public after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the iconic Ima Keitheil market in Manipur’s Imphal was yesterday re-opened in a ceremony that saw the attendance of several bigwigs including chief minister N Biren Singh.

The state government has decided to exempt vendor’s fees for one year and will also provide a soft loan to street vendors and licensed holder vendors, chief minister Biren said while inaugurating the market.

“Extremely glad to re-open Ima Keithel, Imphal from today with COVID situation significantly improving. Timely closure of Ima Keithel from March 21, 2020 helped control spread of the pandemic up to a large extent. Thanks to all the Imas for their unstinting support & cooperation,” N Biren Singh wrote on Twitter.

Ima Keithel, also known as Ima Market or Nupi Keithel is a market run exclusively by women in Imphal.

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It is a commercial center and a popular tourist attraction in the state of Manipur. It has shifted its location within the city of Imphal over the years and is currently located in Khawairaband Bazaar. Notably, it is the largest all-women market in Asia.

It has also become a site of protests in recent times, with women of the market staging massive protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019.

The three iconic mother’s market, namely Purana Keithel, Laxmi Keithel and New Market, were closed from March 21, 2020, as a preventive measure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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