A delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries led by President, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad met Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce, Rajan Prakash Thakur and apprised him of the plights of the people associated with Capet Industry which is now on the verge of decline and sought the intervention of government in reviving the ailing industry.
The President according to the spokesperson suggested the need for establishment of Model carpet villages and put forth strategies to save seven hundred year old industry and sought governments support in its preservation, promotion and revival at local, national and international level.
The delegation led by President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad comprised of All Kashmir Carpet Manufacturers & Traders Association, Meeras Carpet Weavers Co-operative Ltd. and Kashmir Carpet Cluster Development Organization which suggested measures to be adopted by the government for the revival of this Industry and end the sufferings of the traders, weavers and artisans associated with the industry. The Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce was chairing a meeting of Handloom and Handicraft Department attended by Director Handicraft & Handloom Department, Mehmood Ahmad Shah, MD, Handicraft &
Handloom Development Corporation, Hashmat Ali Yatoo Director, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, Zubair Ahmad and other officers besides representative of various trade bodies including Shahid Kamli , President, FCIK; Shiekh Ashiq of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Bilal Kawoosa of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries; Mahraj Krishan Bhat and other members of various trade bodies.
They requested for establishment of Model Carpet Villages in identified areas affiliated with the production of Handloom and Handicraft products by developing infrastructure in an organized manner.
“200 Kanals of land should be initially provided to manufacturers and exporters in an organized way and stakeholders should be asked to apply online and submit relevant Detailed Project Report (DPR),” said spokesperson and also to encourage the stakeholders and benefactors land rate should be given at vary concessional rates. Besides that carpet looms should be provided to each unit of Carpet Village as per the requirement.
According to its spokesperson, the delegation ensure artisans, weavers with best hygienic condition and facilities in these model villages and suggested that the carpet villages should be provided common facility centres wherein Design Development, Dying, Washing, Banking facilities and packing would be available.
In order to meet the market demands, according to its spokesperson, the delegation, suggested government to invite international buyers to visit Carpet Village annually and promote the local industry with new designs and innovations to cater the demands of international market.
As the industry is on decline, and its condition is worrisome, the delegation apprised the authorities of its hay days when just two decades ago more than 100 exporters were involved in exporting Silk Handmade Carpets which has declined to handful, who are also at the verge of closing down their units.
In order to prevent the extinction of this heritage industry, the delegation requested Principal Secretary that exporters should be given incentives like Export Subsidy to all handmade craft products besides soft loan for manufacturing, compensation of freight subsidy and establishment of artisan welfare Board.
“To procure Silk Handmade Carpets from the Industry to the tune of Rs. 100 Crores and relevant Nodal Agency can be play a vital role in procuring this 100 Crores so that work force presently involved in this Industry is relieved,” said its president, besides suggesting other follow up measures to address the declining problem of exporters. The president suggested incentivizing Export Subsidy to Silk Handmade Carpets which are exported at a rate of 20% instead of 10%.
Moreover, according to its spokesperson, to face the present difficult times the delegation also requested for soft loans for five years for manufacturing to sustain in this present turmoil as most of the accounts are either stressed or turned NPA’s and reimbursement of 100 percent Freight Subsidy.
They also acknowledged the need for the constitution of the Artisan/Weaver welfare board by the Labour Department to extend monetary benefits to the registered artisans especially in distressing times. To meet the market demands and trends, the design development institutes like IICT should diversify in innovative designs satisfying key design
criteria like aesthetic appeal, user-centricity, retaining originality features, commensuration consumer preferences. They also suggested creation of latest and Innovative Design Bank as per the market trends in participatory mode by IICT, School of Designs, All Kashmir Carpet Manufacturers & Traders Association, Meeras Carpet Weavers Co-operative Ltd. and Kashmir Carpet Cluster Development Organization.
They also laid stress on the need to diversify the carpet manufacturing from silk based carpets to wool based carpets with mechanized production involving streamlined processes said the spokesperson.
During the meeting with the Principal Secretary, the trade representatives demanded branding and promotion by showcasing products at trade fairs being held at national and international level besides giving subsidized “to and fro” Air Fare to the participant manufacturers.
There must be specialized design department where young designers should work for new and innovative designs; manufacturers should also be encouraged to produce the new design as stated earlier also, they said adding as hand knotted Kashmir Silk Carpets are already Registered under GI Act through the Owner Meeras Carpet Weavers Industrial Co-Operative Ltd necessary funding for establishment and promotion of brand should be provided by Govt.
The President apprised the Principal Secretary about the potential markets to boost the industry and trade. As the untapped markets have the huge potential to give fillip to the ailing industry.
While deliberating on limitations, they also apprised authorities of the untapped market in U.S.A to South Africa and Russia and stressed on the need of supporting manufacturers and exporters in promotional activities.
“We have been confined to Europe and the Middle East in a bigger way. As the present circumstances are not conducive to bulk orders from these regions, we must focus on the American market. There are big carpets fairs with a focus on carpets like fairs in LAS VEGAS, carpets fair in New York, carpet fair in Houston,” said the spokesperson.
The KCCI delegation also laid stress on the need of using mass media to reach to people and markets. They suggested making of multiple promotion features on making of carpets with leading international TV channels like BBC, discovery, history channels etc so that public at large be aware of the workmanship involved in making these beautiful rugs and create a market base for the industry.
The delegation also requested stakeholders to avail the schemes of the government and reach out to the concerned department.
The KCCI delegation thanked the Principal Secretary Industries and Commerce, Rajan Prakash for listening patiently to their demands, issues, suggestions and grievances. They expressed hope that by the intervention of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, and Chief Secretary J&K, Arun Kumar Mehta, the Carpet Industry will be revived to its lost glory.