Srinagar: Fake handicrafts are passed off as Kashmiri brands as vendors engage in this practice at tourist spots in the Valley, causing disrepute to Kashmiri handicrafts and hurting the interests of artisans and genuine dealers.
Rajesh Sinha, a tourist from Bengaluru was duped by a vendor when he purchased a Kashmiri shawl but was actually handed over a machine-made shawl fabricated in Amritsar. “I had to pay a hefty amount to buy the shawl which I considered a real Kashmiri pashmina shawl. The product turned out to be fake,” Sinha, who purchased the drape for his mother, lamented.
Even as authorities say that a proper mechanism has been established to arrest the trend of selling fake shawls under the Kashmiri tag, the violators often get away with it. “The hawkers or shopkeepers selling Kashmiri handicrafts are required to be registered with the State Handicrafts Department,” said Mushtaq A Shah, Assistant Director of the department.
“There has to be a license approved by the department to sell original Kashmiri handicrafts. The hawkers association has to ensure that the products sold are original,” Shah added.
Scores of vendors dotting Boulevard Road, Khayam Road and other parts of the city are busy selling imitations of Kashmiri handicrafts which creates a negative image of Kashmir tourism and handicrafts, said a trader.
The State Tourism Department admits that the growing menace of counterfeit products is hampering tourism promotion. Director Tourism Mahmood A Shah said that police have been roped in to check the malpractice. “We have fined several hawkers who were involved in misbranding Kashmiri handicrafts. We will continue this drive,” he said.
Shah said the enforcement wing of the tourism department along with other stakeholders should join hands to get rid of this menace.