Srinagar: For the record, Oukhoo village in Pulwama is India’s first ‘Pencil Wala Gaon’ (pencil village).
The Centre has decided to rechristen Oukhoo village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama as ‘Pencil Wala Gaon’. The village has earned Rs 107 crore revenue despite lockdown last year.
In its 36 page report, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Oukhoo village is meeting India’s 90 per cent pencil requirement.
“Oukhoo village of Pulwama is all set to receive the tag. Oukhoo village of Pulwama is now proceeding apace to become a manufacturing hub. 90 % of the country’s pencil slate is manufactured here and reaches different parts of the country. On the initiative of the central government, Oukhoo village of Pulwama is being given the tag of Pencil Wala Gaon,” the report said.
The MHA said up till now, Oukhoo village used to send only pencil slats (strip of wood) to the entire country. “But now, the whole country would be supplied finished pencils, manufactured completely in Pulwama. Now, this village would develop as a special zone,” it said.
The MHA said in the past one year, new dimensions of development have been added in various sectors of Jammu-Kashmir. “Central government’s initiative to provide a new identity as Pencil Wala Zila to Pulwama district is a part of the same,” the report said.
The MHA said that the village earned revenue of Rs 107 crores from pencil manufacturing last year.
“While more than 400 people of this village have been associated with this business till now, the opportunities of employment will now increase further. Similarly, villages of Anantnag are also making pencil templates,” the report said.
After getting the tag of `Pencil Wala Gaon’, MHA said, people of Oukhoo village would also get subsidies for the further growth of the pencil Industry.
“It would also help increase the size of business. Instead of just raw material, a finished pencil from Pulwama would now be in the hands of all Indians,” the report said.
Oukhoo village has 17 units and 4,000 employees. Even PM Modi mentioned the village in Mann Ki Baat last year. Modi said it has helped to reduce the dependency of India on other nations for pencil wood in the past few years.