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This Assam hamlet has had ‘cashless transactions’ for over 500 years

While the term ‘cashless transactions’ may be new to many, but in a small hamlet about 32 km from Guwahati, members of Assam's Tiwa tribe meet every year to carry out a unique trade fair where the dealings are totally cashless.
India TV News Desk Guwahati January 23, 2017 12:49 IST
India TV News Desk

While the term ‘cashless transactions’ may be new to many, but in a small hamlet about 32 km from Guwahati, members of Assam's Tiwa tribe meet every year to carry out a unique trade fair where the dealings are totally cashless. 

The system of barter trade has been kept alive for more than five centuries by the Tiwas, a tribe of Central Assam and neighbouring Meghalaya, who hold the three-day annual fair in the third week of January in Assam's Morigaon district.

Popularly known as the 'Junbeel' Mela, meaning moon (Jun) and wetland (beel), as the fair is held beside a large natural water body shaped like a crescent moon.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who attended the just concluded fair, said people have a lot to learn from these practices of the Tiwas which exemplify the cashless tenets of the modern day society. 

He also announced that a permanent plot of land for the fair would be allotted so that the historic event can continue to thrive in the future and tourism receives a boost to benefit the local people.
 
"On the occasion of the mela, a big market is held here where these tribes exchange their products in barter system which is perhaps the only such instance in the country," secretary of Junbeel Mela Development Samiti, Jur Sing Bordoloi said.

A few days before the fair, members of Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi and Jaintia tribes come down from the neighbouring hills with various products. 

The products usually traded during the fair include ginger, bamboo shoots, turmeric, pumpkin, medicinal herbs, dried fish and 'pithas' (rice cakes).