BUDGAM: The market for Kashmiri shawls has been badly affected since the nation-wide lockdown was imposed. Artisans and traders say they are unable to sell any shawls locally or to export them to markets outside Kashmir.
People from Budgam district who do business in Kashmiri shawls say it is the main source of employment in various villages of the district. Muzamila, owner of Rather Shawls Collection that operates form Chewdara village in Budgam district, told Kashmir Reader that during the winter nearly 400 persons in the village were engaged in the work of making shawls.
“Since the lockdown was imposed, only 50 persons are doing this work at their homes. We are not able to send these shawls to the markets outside. The payments of workers are pending for the work they did in March,” Muzamila said.
Nazir Ahmad Naqash, who designs shawls, said that nearly 90% of the work has been stopped since the lockdown. “People from different areas were coming to have their shawls designed from me till the first week of March. But now the work is completely shut in our area,” Naqash said.
According to him, thousands of people who were earning their livelihood directly or indirectly from this business have been affected.
Showkat Ahmad Bhat, who deals in Kashmiri shawls from Budgam, said, “I was providing work to 50 people in my village. If this shutdown continues, traders as well as artisans will face a financial crisis as they are wholly and solely dependent upon income from selling shawls.”