Srinagar, December 01, (Scoop News)-Sounding alarm of alert to the dealers and marketers of Kashmiri handicrafts relating the meager amount of wages trickling down to the workers out of the huge profits earned at the Apex Level, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah asked them to ensure enough money goes down to the artisans whose skill and magical workmanship is responsible for high returns of the products like Carpet, Pashmina Shawls, Sozini, Wood-carving, Papier Machie etc.
“Unless you give them deserving share out of the profits you earn by the sale of these products, I fear, they will lose their enthusiasm and interest in this trade. If an artisan will not earn substantial living from his skill and the product which fetches handsome amounts at the terminal market why should he stick to this activity?”, he said and added that while government is taking all efforts to strengthen the artisans economy by various initiatives the basic responsibility is on the shoulders of exporters and traders to ensure remunerative returns to the artisans.
“We also observe that for meager wages and fewer earnings even after manufacturing craft marvels of highest quality, standard and market value, the offspring of master craftsmen do not want to venture in this field. They instead want to struggle for getting some government jobs than to take up the noble activity of handicrafts which has earned name and fame to Jammu and Kashmir since times immemorial”, Omar Abdullah said adding that economic welfare of artisans and converting their workmanship in a lucrative business is need of the hour.
Addressing the Federation of Indian Export Organizations’ (FIEO) meet here this afternoon, the Chief Minister in detail identified the areas where Jammu and Kashmir possesses high potential for being a successful exporter.
“Instead of becoming jack of all trades we want to be the masters in few and our world famous handicrafts and handloom sectors, spices, fresh and dry fruit, leather products and electronics could be these fields and core sectors to focus on by the investors particularly FIEO making necessary dent and helping the State move ahead in this direction”, he said and listed the measures his government has taken to strengthen these sectors and encouraging entrepreneurship development in these fields.
Omar Abdullah mentioned the steps government has taken for making raw material available to the artisans and handloom workers besides encouraging cultivation of cash crops and helping the establishment of a cold chain facility for preservation of vegetables and fruits. “We have encouraged entrepreneurs to construct Controlled Atmosphere Storages for fruit and with the completion of 4-laning of National Highway and Railway link between Udhampur to Banihal, the transportation of fruit in refrigerated vans and trucks will be a reality”, he said and added that the manufacturing of electronic goods in the State was taking a big leap in 1981 but it received a severe setback due to the long period of disturbance during which other States who were behind Jammu and Kashmir achieved new highs and J&K remained far-behind.
“Now, you are here you should explore the possibilities in this sector”, he told FIEO members informing them about the potential J&K possesses in this field. He said government alone cannot achieve the high targets in bringing electronic revolution in the State as such private partners should play equal role in this stupendous task. He mentioned the initiative of his government of generating 9000 MWs of power within 7 to 8 years to make electricity 24×7 available to the people and the industry in the State.
The Chief Minister also talked about the J&K Silk and Leather Industries and said that his government has initiated measures for re-generation of silk and leather industries. “We have abundant raw material for leather goods manufacturing as we are the highest mutton eaters in the country”, he said and asked the FIEO to explore possibilities of starting leather processing units in the State particularly in Kashmir Valley.
Omar Abdullah also referred to the special certificating mechanism put in place by the government through Craft Development Institute for certifying Kashmir Pashmina and putting an electronic tag to this effect on every handmade Pashmina shawl manufactured here. He said J&K has already got Geographical Indicator for Pashmina and five more handicrafts. He said the onus of manufacturing spurious handicrafts items lies on manufacturers and they should desist from this practice. “I am fully aware that majority of manufacturers are honest and do not indulge in unscrupulous dealings, yet it is their responsibility to identify the ‘bad apple’ who becomes responsible for earning bad name to the industry and the people associated with it”, he maintained.
The Chief Minister also dwelt in detail about the present export trends in the world and challenges before the Indian exporters. He said there is need of balancing exports and imports to strengthen economy and ensure benefits to the people associated with manufacturing of export items. “Though, there cannot be any quick-fix like solution to remove all the bottlenecks in the field of export business, yet bottlenecks and procedural delays need to be focused to help encourage and increase export from the country.