Kashmir Indepth

Traders, artisans worried as handicrafts export declines 45 % in 3-yrs



Faizan Ahmad


Srinagar Nov 25 (KINS): Handicrafts may be backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy but there has been a sharp decline in its exports for last three years.

Figures of Handicrafts Department reveal that there has been a 45 percent decline in handicrafts in the last three years.

The figures say exports of shawls from J&K’s have fallen sharply in the last three years–from Rs 305.90 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 271.62 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 172.53 crore in 2020-21.

Kashmir’s handicrafts like shawls and carpets are famous across the world due to good quality and are man made.

However, the decline of handicrafts export has become a worrisome for traders and artisans of Jammu and Kashmir.

At least 3 lakh people associated with handicrafts including carpets, papier-machie, shawls, wood carving are finding it difficult to feed their families.

Adil Shafi, a resident of this village has been driving a load carrier for the last two years after finding it difficult to feed his family on earning shawl weaving.

“It was very difficult to survive on earning Rs 200 per day. I was not able to feed my family. Government has neglected artisans here. The situation seems grim for the last few years. Two years ago, I bought a load carrier and am earning at least Rs 700 per day,” Bhat told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

“We are finding it difficult to feed our families as there has been a sharp decline in export of handicrafts. Many people associated with handicrafts have switched to other professions,” says Mohammad Amin, a carpet weaver of district Budgam.

J&K owned Handloom Development Corporation’s Kani Shawl Weaving Factory at Kanihami is shut for the last 18 month.

Bashir Ahmad Wani, 60, who has been weaving shawls for the last 45-years, is sitting idle these days. “We would come here in this factory and weave the shawl and make Rs 300 to Rs 400 per day. But this factory has been shut for the last 18 months for unknown reasons. This factory was providing employment to scores of people here. Last two years have been really tough for artisans here,” Wani said. His four children have also abandoned the old craft and switched to other works.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently said that the government’s primary focus is to scale up the local industries of handloom and handicrafts to global level.

“UT government is not only committed to the preservation and development of local art but also for the social and economic upliftment of lakhs of people associated with the handicraft sector in J&K,” he said. (KINS)

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