SRINAGAR: The exhibition organised by the Handicrafts department at Kashmir Haat here fails to attract customers, with the government-owned stalls unable to register any sales.
The purpose of the exhibition, according to officials, was to utilise the prime space in an effective manner for showcasing the artisans’ talent. Accordingly, 15 stalls, each belonging to a district centre of the department, of various handicraft products were set up in the exhibition. While, according to sources, many societies and government departments have refused to participate in the event.
However, the exhibition has proven a flop show so far, with the employees manning the stalls saying that they haven’t seen any customers since the exhibition started.
“You are the first people visiting us since we set up stalls here. Forget about business, no one even comes to have a look at these stalls,” the employees told Kashmir Reader, pleading anonymity.
Kashmir Haat has been a famous destination in Kashmir Valley for organising exhibitions and events-for-amusement such as circus. In the past, exhibitions and events were held together to attract people, but this year’s exhibition has been organised without any added attractions for the public.
Besides the absence of amusement or recreational events, the employees, who are made to attend the stalls from 10 am to 8pm daily, see the heightened security arrangements outside the Civil Secretariat, which is exactly opposite to Kashmir Haat, as one of the main reasons for people’s disinterest in coming to the exhibition.
“People can’t even park their cars here,” they said. The other reason, they said, is the state’s “wrong choice of location”.
“Instead of organising the exhibition here, they should have sent us to Pahalgam where thousands of Hindu pilgrims and tourists visit every day,” the employees said.
“We are rarely provided any opportunity to set up stalls at locations that are crowded by tourists and could be useful,” they said.
The Deputy Director Administration and Manager of the venue, Zenat Ara, said the Principal aim behind organising the exhibition was not to make any profit.
“The basic purpose is to revive Kashmir Haat as a business centre. Yes there are difficulties, but we are trying to overcome them,” she said. “We are trying to showcase the products that our artisans produce. Soon, there will be a variety of other exhibitions organised at the same venue.”