Kashmir's carpet industry facing downturn

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Srinagar, Mar 15 (ANI): The carpet industry of Jammu and Kashmir is facing a slump in the wake of the global economic slowdown, endangering the livelihood of thousands associated with the industry.xquisitely designed and handmade Kashmiri carpets have been the possession of many connoisseurs of art and luxury around the world.

There are more than 30,000 carpet weaving looms in the Valley from which over 2,50,000 local weavers earn their livelihood. They create expensive silk and woolen carpets for buyers in Europe, the United States and West Asia. But it seems the global slowdown is jeopardizing their livelihood.

"Earlier, we used to earn good in weaving the carpets, but now we earn almost nothing. We don't want to work here anymore because we are getting no profits out of this. It seems that the carpet industry of Kashmir will shutdown in another two years," said Fayaz Ahmed, a carpet weaver.

Apart from the weavers, nearly 50,000 people depend on carpet industry as a source of their income. According to the exporters, the turnover two years ago was about five to six billion rupees, but this year they are fear a far less achievement.

"I think this year it would be difficult to achieve a target of even two billions rupees. Its main reason is the economic slowdown that the whole world is facing and now it has hit our carpet industry," said Ahsan Mirza, a carpet exporter.

The experts feel that the government must act fast to keep this trade alive or else the artisans depending on this industry may soon loose their jobs.

"If this year, there is no demand for carpets, then it means our artisans are going to be jobless very soon. According to the figures by the government, almost 3,00,000 people are dependant on this industry and the jobs of these people are at stake at this time," said Shakeel Qalandar, President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir.

The carpet industry of Kashmir has its origin in Persia. The carpets made in Kashmir were largely influenced by Persian motifs.

However, in the 16th and 17th centuries, artisans in Kashmir began giving specialized touches to the carpets produced in the region, giving them a distinctive character. By Parvez Butt (ANI)

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