NC calls for immediate help to cash strapped artisans

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday said GOI has failed to provide support to artisans of Jammu and Kashmir to craft a sustainable future, saying the indifferent attitude of the government has plunged the entire lot into despondency.
With nearly zero sales now for over a year, the artisans and craftsmen associated with handicraft sector have become cash strapped said Party’s senior leaders Mubarak Gul, Shameema Firdous, Irfan Shah, Muhammad Syed Akhoon and Muhammad Syed Akhoon in a joint statement while expressing concern over the plight of craftsmen associated with handicrafts sector.
The leaders said the incumbent government has left the artisans high and dry by not addressing their genuine woes on account of the decrease in production and sale cycle due to the successive clampdown and lockdown. “In the post COVID-19 lockdown rehabilitation programme the entire sector has been neglected. No substantial financial aid has been doled out to the ailing sector to start afresh. Nothing substantial has been worked out by the government to ensure universal interest subsidy on loans to the people associated with the trade. There is immediate need of easy access to a minimum two –three months of working capital – either as grant or zero interest loans to be repaid until when their cash flows. Besides that a loan waiver could go a long way in helping the entire lot to tide over the economic slump. If the government does not wake up to the challenges faced by the people associated with the sector, our heritage of thousands of years will be lost forever. A timely intervention from the central government will assist the artisans limp towards renewal,” they said.
In the recent years the artisans pursuing various crafts like Khatamband, Pashmina, Copper works, wood works, paper mashie, and all other skills live in an atmosphere of hopelessness and poverty of resources. The plight of artisans, the leaders said has touched all time low due to the prevailing COVID-19 induced economic slump .
“The lock down has sucked the life and blood of the sector which had already been ailing on account of GST imposition. With no succor coming from the government the artisans are taking to other menial jobs. The artisans have completely run short of their savings, with no saving to restart the production, the entire lot is being pushed to switch their vocation. In the long run the scenario could lead to entire craft clusters getting wiped out and third fourth generation artisan moving to other vocations. Therefore the administration should take stock of their situation and come up with a short term and long term economic revival plan for the ailing handicraft sector, failing which the viable sector won’t be able to endure itself during the decades to come,” they said.

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