SRINAGAR: Scores of Pashmina artisans Monday held protest at Press Enclave here, asking the government to immediately stop pashmina shawl manufacturing on machines as it has hit the traditional shawl manufacturing.
The protesting artisans urged government to immediately stop manufacturing of shawls on power looms as this has degraded the quality of the final product. Fayaz Ahmad President of Pashmina Handmade Weaver’s Union said that the thousands of people who used to weave Pashmina by traditional methods have suffered on account of the increased use of machines.
Most of the people associated with this age old craft are losing their job to these machines as no one is approaching them for sipping or either weaving of this prized wool.
The protesters termed the increased use of power looms is a ‘conspiracy’ against the weavers and artisans to steal the livelihood,besides a move to undermine this age old craft that generated employment for thousands including a considerable number of women who mostly were spinners. “We frequently appealed government and even the power loom owners to stop the use of these machines but no one seems bothered,” said Fayaz adding that that is the reason why we now have hit the roads to protest against this injustice.
He lamented the fact that imported spun pashmina yarn from Punjab is eliminating the need of people who used to weave the yarn traditionally, besides adulteration of wool is so rampant that the quality is highly degraded.
Both the spinners who mostly were women along with weavers are sitting idle as machines have eaten most of the job market. The protesters said that many manufacturers have turned to these machines and are churning out low quality products that are sold in the market.
“No one offers work to the traditional shawl weavers as several looms operational in various city areas do the job in hours at just Rs 100 per shawl,” said Fayaz while a weavers would take five days to manufacture the product costing Rs 1200.
The protestors also threatened that they will carry out a valley vide protests if authorities do not heed to their demands.