SRINAGAR: Calling attention to the crisis in the carpet industry, Kashmiri manufacturers and traders met the Indian government’s development commissioner Dr K Gopal on Wednesday. The traders told the commissioner that the Indian government was in part responsible for the decline of the handmade carpet industry.
“Since 1990 the exports of handmade carpets have gone down to Rs 50 crore from Rs 500 crore. In the past three consecutive years, the exports have been limited to Rs 50 crore. The reason for this downfall is that interventions made by the Indian government have not been helpful,” carpet manufacturer Masood Ahmad Bisati said during the interactive session with the commissioner.
Gopal was meeting Kashmiri carpet manufacturers, exporters and importers to get a firsthand account of the trade. Manufacturer Ghulam Nabi told him that the government’s credit scheme of Rs 1 lakh for artisans had not been helpful.
“An artisan is given the loan of Rs 1 lakh only after he shows a bill of Rs 90,000. This condition has not been helpful because an artisan does not only have to buy raw material but many other things,” Ghulam Nabi said.
In response to a question asked by Gopal about how the government had failed, a manufacturer replied that the state government’s arts emporium and Indian government agencies have stopped buying Kashmiri carpets for the past many years.
“We used to sell most of our products to them. But since they have stopped buying, our sales have been hit,” Nabi said.
On his part, Gopal told the gathering that the buying of Kashmiri carpets by Indian agencies would not be helpful. Instead, the manufacturers should focus on ways to get the trade back on track.
“Tell me, do we need intervention at the production level, marketing level or promotion level? Or do we need to do a study to understand how the trade can be improved?” Gopal said to the traders.
Former KCCI president and Carpet Promotion Export Council’s JK Chapter president Sheikh Ashiq, KCCI president Mushtaq Wani among other were present on the occasion.