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Courtesy internet shutdown:Handicrafts exports drop by 62 per cent in second quarter

ca. 1970-1995, Lahore, Pakistan --- Pakistani Carpet Factory --- Image by © CORBIS

Srinagar, Nov 28: Exports of Kashmiri handicrafts including famed silken carpets and pashmina shawls have plummeted by 62 per cent in the second quarter of current fiscal.

Thanks to the internet shutdown post abrogation of article 370, handicrafts sector is gasping for breath.

 

Official data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that handicrafts including carpets, shawls, paper machie, wood carving and others worth Rs 298.28 crores were exported in the first quarter starting April. The second quarter starting July recorded a drop in the exports up to Rs 187.47 crores.

Data reveals that carpets, which were exported worth Rs 122.65 crores in first quarter, plummeted to Rs 76.26 crores in the second quarter. Similarly exports of pashmina and other shawls dropped from Rs 88.70 crores in the first quarter to Rs 57.23 in second quarter.

Exports of paper machie, chain stitch/crewel and wood carving dropped to Rs 1.26, Rs 51.03, Rs 21.69 crores respectively in second quarter from Rs 2.05, Rs 82.17 and Rs 2.72 crores, respectively in the first quarter.

Comparing to previous year, exports of handicrafts in second quarter witnessed a fall up to Rs 48.99 crores.

Last year, handicrafts worth Rs 917.66 crores were exported. Of which handicrafts worth Rs 238.82 and Rs 236.46 crores were exported in first and second quarter respectively. Similarly, handicrafts worth Rs 180.45 and Rs 261.93 crores were exported in third and fourth quarter, respectively.

Officials said internet gag has rendered lakhs of artisans jobless. Of whom 60,000 alone are associated with carpet sector.

Assistant Director, Handicraft Department Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah told The Kashmir Monitor that lack of internet has affected the delivery of orders.

“In the second quarter, there were fewer realisations reported. We are trying to figure out how much internet blockade has affected the exports in the third quarter,” he said.

Shah claimed that there was an increase in the production in the cottage industry this year. “Production this year so far has been good. Kashmir’s cottage sector comprises indoors units only,” he said.

Dealers said lack of internet facility resulted in massive cancellation of orders in the second quarter. “We receive maximum orders in July, August and September. Lack of internet has cost us fortune. Non-availability of mobile internet and broadband may also hit sales during Christmas and New year,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, Director of Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) and President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries.