‘Kashmiri artisans without work, no help from govt’

Srinagar: Kashmiri artisans who have kept the handicrafts trade alive are facing the most difficult times but the government has not come forward to ease their suffering so far, Parvez Ahmad, President of Kashmir Artisans Rehabilitation Forum, said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference here, Ahmad said that the ongoing pandemic has affected the already financially weak artisans as they literally have no work.
As per figures quoted by Ahmad, there are some eight lakh artisans in Jammu and Kashmir, dealing with more than seven types of handicrafts. The crafts include Pashmina, Carpets, Papier Mache, Wood Carving, Crewel, and Copper Antique.
“Is there any place in the world which is open and where handicrafts are to be sold? No. This means we don’t have orders which we get from customers around the world. This means artisans do not have work,” said Ahmad, who is himself a handicrafts trader.
Parvez Ahmad Naqash is a fourth-generation exporter in his family that has been selling Papier Mache products to more than 46 countries. He said that no market place is open for a year now for business. “This has shrunk any possibility of getting orders which could have provided work to the artisans,” he said.
To deal with the situation, Ahmad asked the government to provide relief for the survival of the artisans.
“Rs 5,000 is not a big amount, but it can keep the hearth burning and provide some help for taking care of medicines,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir is battling with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 3,000 have died this year, of whom close to 1,000 died in just a month’s time. On Monday a record 73 people died in JK in 24 hours for the first time.

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