May 2016 News

'Kashmir Carpet Craft Dying Silent Death'

18 May 2016
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Raising concern over deteriorating conditions of carpet weavers, the Kashmir-based artisans today urged the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, Government of India to initiate remedial measures to safeguard the dying craft. Speaking at interactive meeting organised by Carpet Export Promotion Council in collaboration with Kashmir Carpet Cluster Development Organisation at a local hotel here, the artisans talked in detail about the issues faced by them in front of DC Handicraft, K Gopal who was attending the meet. The artisans highlighted their 'miserable condition' and urged the Government of India officials to take steps to revive dying silk carpet sector. 'Our wages are still same which we used to receive 10 years back,' they said, adding that around 80 percent of silk carpet weavers have shunned their ancestral craft due to lesser returns. They urged the centre government to ensure availability of quality silk raw material in the market. 'We don't know about the quality of silk being provided to us and when we manufacture the carpet, its quality is not of that standard due to sub-standard raw material,' they said adding that there is no quality control measures for checking standard of the silk being flooded into the market. While speaking on the function, the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Union Ministry of Textile, Dr K.Gopal assured silk carpet exporters and manufacturers that the Government of India would initiate steps to explore new markets and ensure availability of quality raw material for artisans in Jammu and Kashmir. Gopal was speaking at an interactive meeting organised by Carpet Export Promotion Council in collaboration with Kashmir Carpet Cluster Development Organisation. The centre government official, while speaking to the artisans, exporters and manufacturers at a local hotel here, stated that there is need to conduct survey to know about the problems of the artisans. 'The government would work out to explore new markets for the silk carpets,' he said. Gopal said that the concerns raised by the artisans would be redressed. The official of the central government held deliberations to get their feedback about the silk carpet trade. Speaking on the occasion, newly appointed member of Committee of administration, JK region, Sheikh Ashiq said that the carpet trade is facing the brunt of global meltdown. 'As a result of which exporters are facing the brunt of the financial losses as the interest on borrowing has accumulated,' he said adding that the government of India should explore new markets for the silk carpet exporters. 'Ironically the silk carpet from Kashmir is mostly marketed in Europe and Gulf countries only,' he said. Ashiq also pitched for the establishment of silk raw material bank for the artisans. 'Raw material bank should be established in order to ensure that the carpet weavers, artisans and manufacturers are provided raw material on affordable rates,' he said adding that government should pay attention to the development of craft villages in order to attract tourists.