By Karan Kapoor
Ludhiana, Jan.8 : Winters bring that time of the year when Ludhiana's businessmen dealing in hosiery, especially the shawls manufacturers, have brisk sales.
This year the cold spell in north India has ensured a good season for these traders. The demand for woolen shawls manufactured here is touching its peak.
Around 500 big and small shawl manufacturing units Ludhiana have capitalised on this early and intense cold spell. A good winter season ahead was anticipated since November.
There is a surge in domestic as well as export market for Ludhiana shawls. The main demand within the country is for fancy shawls having checks, reversible designs and stripes along with the plain ones. There is a surge in export market for shawls.
"Whenever the winter season sets in early, our sales increase immensely and the trend continues for the subsequent year too. Because retailers stocks are cleared in winters and they need to replenish it for the coming season, and this directly enhances our sales," said Rajan Jain, a shawl exporter.
"Export market for shawls is fast developing and domestic market is also booming. intense winters, marriage season and festivals have augmented our business. All the stocks have been cleared," he added.
According to Shawl Club of India, presently, the shawl trade is worth around rupees 100 billion (Rs.10,000 crores) per annum.
"Indian shawl industry exports goods worth rupees 400 crores, annually. Shawl export was started in 1991 and reached its peak in year 2000 to 2002. Although the industry has stabilised now but it is still growing," said Mridula Jain, Vice Chairperson of Shawl Club of India.
Exports have The new economic policy adapted in 1991 paved the way for India to export shawls in abundance. Since then the industry has developed at an annual rate of 40 to 50 per cent.
Laced with hi-tech machines and professional designers, the shawl industry in Ludhiana has matched its strides with an ever-changing lifestyle of developed nations.
"I have come to buy shawls for a friend in USA. People in foreign like these shawls a lot, as the designs and weaving of these shawls are very good," said Dolly, a customer.
The skilled weavers and experienced embroidery artisans of Ludhiana and Amritsar are stated to have earned the local industry its goodwill.
"These shawls are of superior quality and are durable too. They suit the lifestyle of people settled abroad. This season I have come here at least four times to buy shawls for my NRI relatives, for me and my friends in Delhi. These shawls are in great demand," said Geeta, a customer.
Woollen exports have been steadily growing at an annual rate of 40 to 50 per cent since 1991.