What started as just another micro-credit scheme has developed into a whole new way of life for the women of Rajnandgaon. Once freed from the clutches of the sahukar (money-lender), the women figured it was time to do away with the thekedar as well. Labouring for Rs 35 a day in stone quarries while local strongmen walked away with the profits didn’t, after a point, make any sense.
So when district collector Dinesh Shrivastava tentatively suggested that they take over the contracts for the stone quarries, they jumped at the offer. So successful was the initial three-month lease that the women expanded their operations to other quarries. Now, more than 30 quarries are operated by them.