Amritsar, Aug 27 : With the winter season approaching, the famous shawl industry of Amritsar experiences a boom in both domestic and international markets.
The cottage industry, once known for traditional hand-woven and embroidered shawls, has now modified the products with hi-tech machines, giving a boost to the production.
There are more than 27 mechanised shawl manufacture units in Amritsar.
The people involved in the industry feel that the industry is in its 'Golden Era' at present as the beauty and ingenuity of the Amritsari shawls attract buyers from India as well as abroad.
According to J S Madan, Chairman, Shawl Club of India, the industry that was earning around 40 to 50 crores of rupees until few years ago, today boasts of its export figures having crossed the mark 500 crores of rupees.
The credit for the giant stride goes to the mechanisation of the shawl weaving units and also the industry-friendly policy of the State and the Union Governments.
"We are exporting our shawls throughout and the major portion is Middle East, France, Australia, Japan, USA and lot many other countries. I think the overall production growth which was 500 crore rupees earlier has now crossed that figure, it's much more than that," said J S Madan.
Pyaralal Seth, President, Shawl Club India and also a manufacturer said that over half a million people earn their daily bread from this industry.
Incidentally, Pyaralal was among the first to import the electronic weaving machinery. He started the mechanised units by installing only two machines and has now expanded the capacity by increasing the number of machines to ten.
He felt that in the next 30 years the industry would see tremendous growth.
"According to my assessment and the Government's figures, export of shawls, which was 60 crores only from whole Punjab, is now more than 400 crores. The demand is high everywhere in the world. New acceptability is there in the domestic market also. Earlier embroidery on plain shawls was in fashion, but now all is done through computerised machines. New designs are introduced in market. The production is defectless and the quality is even, so it is acceptable to every consumer," said Pyaralal.
Stepping ahead with the higher demand in the world market, the industry has also introduced stoles that attract the young generation most.
Stoles are lesser in size and price as compared with the traditional shawls. acquard shawls, made of fine viscose fabric, are gaining more popularity than those woven in woollen. By Ravinder Singh Robin