Carpet industry in crisis in Uttar Pradesh

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Bhadohi (Uttar Pradesh), May 1 : Traditional carpet industry at Bhadohi, an important carpet manufacturing centre in Uttar Pradesh, is facing severe crisis in the wake of global economic slowdown.

This belt used to be known as the 'Dollar Belt' till recently. The combined exports of Bhadohi and Mirzapur till two years back stood at 18 billion rupees forming major part of India's total carpet exports valued at estimated 22 billion rupees per year.

But, now these exports from Bhadohi and Mirzapur have declined to 15 billion rupees.

"This industry is seriously affected and because of this the Bhadohi belt is very badly affected. The largest chunk of the exports from Bhadohi belt used to be exported to United States of America, which consumed 60 per cent of our exports while 40 per cent of the exports were to Germany, Holland, Australia, Switzerland and Canada. American market has shrunk from 60 per cent to nearly half," said Ashok Kapoor, a carpet exporter.

The carpet manufacturing industry at Bhadoh, known for its hand knotted carpets and hand tufted carpets, has been hard hit by the global economic slowdown lading to almost wiping out of small exporters and the large exporters finding it difficult to cope up.

In case of a hand knotted carpet, a weaver makes anywhere between Rs. 5000- Rs.15, 000 per carpet. But with the demand for cheaper hand-tufted carpets increasing, weavers are the biggest losers as they make a mere Rs. 1500.

The carpet manufacturers say that the government's policies do not help the carpet industry. The tax and other benefits, which this industry enjoyed till a few year's back have been withdrawn.

"Earlier, the government had a positive attitude towards the carpet industry. The schemes like carpet export incentive schemes, tax concessions under the Section 180 have now been withdrawn. Because of this the people involved in the carpet industry. If the things remain like this, the carpet industry will close down in this area and people will migrate to other professions," said Raja Ram Gupta, a carpet trader.

The carpet industry, being highly labour intensive and decentralized, is an important source of employment to people of the region and also earning valuable foreign exchange.

Its decay would lead to mass migration of workers to other professions, observed the people involved in the industry.

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