Omar Seeks Help to Protect Kashmir Crafts

Says handicrafts bulwark of State’s economy: Omar

SRINAGAR:  Describing handicrafts bulwark of State’s economy, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Saturday said that artifacts and marvels of craftsmanship created by the artisans of Jammu and Kashmir have always earned name and fame to this part of the world.

“Unless economic prosperity of a large chunk of population associated with handicrafts is ensured, this specialty and novelty of the State will face extinction”, he said and added that underlining this aspect his government has initiated innovative measures for the development and growth of this living heritage and the people associated with it.

Addressing a function organized by the Directorate of Handicrafts Kashmir to distribute Modern Carpet Looms and Artisan Credit Cards to the beneficiaries at SKICC here, the Chief Minister said that some unscrupulous traders have damaged the reputation of Kashmir handicrafts by indulging in manufacturing and marketing of spurious items. “I have asked the concerned to keep vigil on such activities and ensure reputation of the trade as has been its hallmark in the past”, he said and asked the artisans to play their role in stopping such elements to defame the trade. “Your workmanship is par excellence, unparalleled and of highest class in the world. You have magic in your hands and your art pieces are mesmerizing”, he told the artisans and asked them to help protect any pollution in this trade assuring all help from the government for their welfare and development.

He said that financial hand holding and extension of support by way of providing tool kits to artisans is the part of the comprehensive strategy formulated for the holistic welfare and growth of handicrafts, handlooms and artisans.

The Chief Minister underlined the need of developing new designs and conserving the ancient and heritage ones to strengthen the marketability of the arts and crafts of the State. He said that Handicrafts Development Institute is working on this aspect and has created some innovative designs suiting market trends. He said the Institute is also working on a project to provide Radio Frequency Tags to the Pashmina shawls manufactured in the State and guarantee its purity and genuineness. He said this step would halt the attempts of unscrupulous traders to trade fake shawls. This would also help to standardize the marketing.

Omar Abdullah said that under an innovative measure various handicrafts and the artisans in Shahr-e-Khas (Old Srinagar City) have been focused for comprehensive development under the handicrafts cluster development project which also aims at creating direct market liaison of artisans with the buyers.

The Chief Minister said that registration of artisans and providing them Artisan Credit Cards on the pattern of Kissan Credit Cards would ensure easy flow of finance for them to strengthen their units and upgrade economy.

In his address Minister for Industries and Commerce, Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo highlighted the measures taken by the government under the leadership of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah to address the problems of artisan. He said various schemes have already been taken in hand for the holistic development of handicrafts and artisans adding that the good results of these schemes have started appearing on ground.

As many as 20 artisans adjudged qualified for State awards received the cash awards on the occasion from the Chief Minister. The first position awards of Rs. 50000 each were given to Mohammad Maqbool Mir in Sozni, Haji Mohammad Saleh in Papier Machie, Shabnam Ali Mohammad Dar in Chain Stitch, Ghulam Ali Sheikh in Carpet, Abid Ahmad Dar in Wood Carving and Sajjad Muzaffar in Copperware.

Second position awards of Rs. 30,000 each were given to Qaiser Jan Bandey in Sozni, Masrat Maqbool Jan in Papier Machie, Ghulam Hassan Mala in Carpet, Abdul Majid Dar in Wood Carving, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan in Kani Shawl, Mohammad Hussain Mir in Tapestry, Shivem Thakur Khajuria in Modern Art and Rajni Bala in Basholi Painting while third position awards of Rs. 20,000 each bagged by Ali Mohammad Malik and Mohammad Yousuf Shah in Sozni, Gazenffer Ali Khan and Fayaz Ahmad Khan in Papier Machie, Ghulam Mohammad Sofi in Carpet and Sarfaraz Ashraf in Wood Carving.

The Chief Minister also presented Artisans Credit Cards and released a book titled ‘Haroof-e-Hunar Qadam-b-Qadam’ on the occasion.

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