National Handloom Expo Opens After 26 Yrs

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Srinagar, Sept 17: A Mega Handloom Expo, sponsored by Development Commissioner Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles (GOI) began in Srinagar at Kashmir Haat (Numaish Ghar) after a gap of 26 long years on Monday.

Speaking to a large gathering of Handicraft artisans, and Handloom weavers, after inaugurating Dast-a- Hunnar, a 15 days National Handloom Expo, the Minister for Industries and Commerce, S. S. Slathia said, holding of regular Expos in different areas of the state, especially at prominent tourist destinations will go a long way in providing a platform to the artisans and weavers to show case and sell their products without exploitation of middleman.

Some 80 stalls have been set up by artisans & weavers including 15 Handlooms Cooperative Societies from Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Utter Pradesh. The Banarasi Silk Sarees, home furnishing from Delhi, Bed Covers, Bed Sheets, Rugs, Duries, world famous Kani Shawls, Pashmina Shawls, Raffal Suiting Cloth, Stoals, Scarves, Bodoi Carpets, Tweed cloth is for exhibition cum sale in the National Handloom Expo.

Slathia enjoined upon the officers and field agencies of Industries and Commerce especially handloom and handicrafts departments to coordinate and dove-tail their schemes and programmes to promote world famous artifacts of the State in a big way. He hailed the handloom department for organizing District level handloom melas at world famous tourist resorts of Gulmarg and pahalgam adding that such events should be organized in each district of the State every year.

Slathia called for strict quality control measures to preserve the artistic heritage of branded Kashmiri products like Pashmina Shawls and Kani shawls adding that there should be no compromise on quality of handicraft and handloom products. He asked the law enforcement agencies to act tough against unscrupulous dealers who are indulging in sale of duplicate and fake products in the name of Kashmir brand.

The Minister said that due to concerted efforts of the government, the Handloom activities in the State have received a fillip adding that handloom goods worth Rs. 10.60 crore have been sold in various handloom Melas during last 2 years. He said a number of antique shawl designs of Mughal era have been recurred which have received tremendous response from the customers world over. He said 12500 weavers/Artisans have been brought under ICIC Lombard general insurance during the last financial year. He said government has launched Weavers Credit Card Scheme, on the pattern of Kissan Credit Card Scheme to provide hassle free landing facilities to the Weavers. He said about 40,000 modern handlooms will be provided to the Weavers free of cost during the 5 year plan.

Earlier, the Minister went round various stalls and interacted with Handloom Weavers and Artisans.

The Director Handlooms, Mr. Meraj-ud-din Kinu, in his welcome address, gave a detailed account of the achievements of the department and schemes and programmes being implemented for promotion of handlooms and welfare of artisans and weavers of the State. He said the Handloom department has formulated a calendar to hold regular Expos and Handloom Melas at potential places every year.

He said the Development Commissioner Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles (GOI) has sanctioned 10 handloom clusters, out of which 7 clusters are being implemented through handloom department, six products viz. Pashmina, Kani Jamawars, Raffal Suiting, Woollen Tweed, Woollen Blankets/Mufflers, Cotton Linen, Cotton Bed Sheets and Bamboo items have been developed under these clusters, Mr. Kinu added. He said 580 weavers have been provided training under skill up gradation in these 7 handloom clusters and 120 weavers have been sent to Delhi and Himachal Pradesh for marketing exposure visit.

The Department of Information presented a scintillating cultural programme for entertainment of the Audience.

MLA, Batmaloo Mr. Irfan Shah, Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Mr. Shant Manu, MD JK Cements Limited, R.K.Razdan, MD,JKI, Mr. Javaid Iqbal, MD Handloom Development Corporation, Mr. Showkat Ali, MD, JK Minerals Mr. V.K.Sharma, Director Handicrafts Mr. Muzaffar Hussain, Director Geology and Miniing Mr. Farooq Ahmed and Secretary KVI, Mr. Ravinder Singh were also present on the Occasion.

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