Big feather in LG’s cap, Srinagar now a World Crafts City

 STRAP: Kashmir Inc. artisans thank J&K administration

SRIINAGAR:  A dying handicrafts sector has got a new lease of life after Srinagar was recognized as a ‘World Craft City’.

On Sunday, Srinagar was designated ‘World Craft City’ by the World Crafts Council, marking an achievement in the city’s rich history of craftsmanship and cultural heritage. This designation was approved by the WCC AISBL Executive Board and the WCC World Craft City Sub-committee members based on the evaluation report submitted by the jurors.

 “On behalf of Saad al-Qaddumi, World Crafts Council AISBL President; the WCC AISBL Executive Board; the WCC-World Craft City Sub-committee; and the jury members, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you, your team, the government, the citizens, and the craftspeople of Srinagar on the approval of Srinagar City (India) as a WCC-World Craft City,” WCC AISBL (International) Secretariat, wrote to Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director Handicrafts and Handlooms, Kashmir.

The designation has brought smiles to artisans, the business community, and government honchos in Kashmir. “it is an honor for all of us particularly the artisan community which has worked hard for centuries to put our handicraft on the global map. Then our government particularly Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and his administration needs appreciation because they worked hard for this feat. This will open gates for Kashmir’s prosperity,” Javed A Tenga, president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) told The Kashmir Monitor.

KCCI said the designation will attract tourists and dealers from across the globe. “Earlier, Jaipur was designated World Craft City. Since its designation, Jaipur has become a foreign tourist hub. Likewise, Kashmir too will attract foreign tourists. Plus dealers and sellers in different countries will now place orders for our handicrafts,” said Tenga.

Official figures reveal Kashmir exported handcrafts worth Rs 1162. 29 in FY24. Of which Pashmina shawls and rumal were worth Rs 476. 24 crore. It was followed by carpets which stood at Rs 317.33 crore. Chain Stich/crewel worth Rs 233.46 crore were also exported in FY24.

“This is recognition of generations of unsung artisans who have been creating masterpieces. Kashmir has always been an international craft destination. However, for three decades, we were put on the backburner. Now it is our opportunity to promote Kashmir as an international craft destination,” Mehbood Ahmad Shah, Director, Handicrafts and Handlooms, told The Kashmir Monitor. 

Shah said the designation would not only help in promoting genuine crafts but also genuine craftsmen. “That means more buyers, more work for artisans, and more exports,” he said

Earlier, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha took to social media platform X to announce the news, expressing heartfelt congratulations to the people of Srinagar.

“Heartiest congratulations to Srinagar for being recognized as a World Craft City by the World Crafts Council. This prestigious honor celebrates the rich heritage, craftsmanship, and vibrant culture of our beloved Srinagar,” the tweet read.

“Kudos to all the artisans and craftsmen whose dedication and talent have made this achievement possible,” the Lieutenant Governor’s Office added.

Pertinently, the recognition by the World Crafts Council is expected to boost the local economy, promote tourism, and encourage the younger generation to pursue traditional crafts.

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