Seek high end testing to keep fakes at bay, promote brand
SRINAGAR: A delegation of Pashmina exporters from UT of J&K led by Dr. Hina Bhat, Vice-Chairperson, KVIB met with Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change at their respective offices in New Delhi.
The ministers were apprised about the Threat to Pashmina industry due to the wrong branding and identification of Pashmina shawls as shahtoosh shawls. This is causing huge losses to the Pashmina industry and to the country’s economy thereby making the Indian pashmina exporters lose credibility in the global market.
Currently, the wildlife department sends the seized samples to their labs which uses Morphological microscopic tests to study the suspected guard hair found in the shawls. It was explained to the minister’s that these testing techniques are outdated and that the guard hair belongs to Pashmina goats and every handmade pashmina shawl has some guard hair present.
Due to this process of seizure, subsequent hardships, and the time taken to get the test results which may take from 6 months to two years, many exporters have faced cancellation of orders and their reputation has been damaged resulting in loss of future orders too.
The exporters also stressed on using of latest testing technology like Scanning electron microscopes and DNA technology. Currently, no such test is conducted in wildlife labs and only the guard hair is tested which could even be a case of accidental contamination.
The team also recommended testing the entire fabric at CDI Lab in Kashmir, which is solely dedicated to the testing of pashmina shawls
Or at Textile committee lab.
These procedures have caused the decline of 30% to 40 % of handmade Pashmina exports in recent years and have forced some of the exporters to either completely quit export of handmade shawls or choose cheaper machine made shawls.
If this practice continues for some more years, it will be devastating for the handmade Kashmir Pashmina industry which will eventually, leave some 5 lakh plus artisans and thousands of exporters and traders out of work.
Both ministers heard the Grievance of the exporters and assured swift action on this matter by adopting the latest techniques
The delegation of exporters included Mubbashir Ahmed Shaw, Tariq Ahmed Dar, Imran Rashid Darzi, Bilal Ahmed Beigh, Naqeed Qazi, Abdul Manan Baba and other exporters.
The delegation is very thankful to the ministers for hearing their grievances and assuring full support to the exporters and resolving this issue at the earliest.
Dr. Hina Bhat has assured the exporters her full support as this matter is of grave concern and will affect a large population of artisans in Kashmir valley.