Modern carpet looms to boost carpet industry in Kashmir Valley

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Srinagar, Dec 24 (ANI): The Indian Institute of Carpet Technology in Srinagar has launched a new loom in an effort to salvage the dying craft.

Once a popular industry in Jammu and Kashmi, carpet-weaving is going through a rough time for the want of good weavers.

No new weavers are willing to join the industry after seeing the physical distress of those weavers who have spent a long time in the industry. The work requires these weavers to sit crouched at one place for long hours, leading to deformation of their body structure, which, in some cases, could also be very acute.

However, this new loom cuts though that disadvantage enabling the weavers to sit on chairs while weaving carpets.

"These looms are stronger and there are no problems now. Earlier, the thread used to get loosened but now with the new loom that problem is not there any more. Moreover, these looms are much more comfortable to work with, also," said Ali Muhammad, a carpet weaver.

The Indian Institute of Carpet Technology hopes that the introduction of this new loom would not only make carpet weaving less hazardous, but will also elevate the social status of the craftsmen, saving the industry from its impending breakdown.

The new loom is made of iron and plywood. The use of timber is reserved to a minimum level for the preservation of forests, environment and ecology.

Mir Zubair Ahmad, Director of Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, however, feels that the high cost of these looms might act as a deterrent for the development of the industry and its weavers.

"People are reluctant because of the cost factor. Regarding that, I have told you that we have written to the Government of India. The Government of India has given us the assurance that they will consider subsidization. So, when that happens, it will do wonders. We also have a couple of leading exporters who are prepared to give us 1,500 loans. Only the cost is constant. If that would not have been constant, these looms would have been everywhere," Ahmad added.

It is planned to replace forty thousand carpet weaving looms in Jammu and Kashmir with the modern looms at the rate of 8,000 per year over the next five years.

The Institute has requested the state and the central governments to subsidize the cost of the looms by paying 75 percent, which amounts to 35,000 rupees, with the artisans only contributing 25 percent of the amount, in an effort to work over the high cost factor.

The decision of the central government is still awaited by the Institute regarding their proposed scheme. (ANI)

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