M I Jehangir
Sangam (J-K), Feb 13 (PTI) Bat manufacturing units inthis south Kashmir town are banking on a good performance bythe Indian cricket team in the upcoming World Cup to make upfor the losses they have suffered during the violent proteststhat rocked the valley last year.
Abdul Majeed Dar, the president of the Cricket BatManufacturers'' Association, said if the Indian team has asuccessful World Cup, the demands for the bats made here islikely to go up.
"If the Indian team does well, we will be happier as itwould set off some of the losses we have suffered during thelast year''s protests in the valley," Dar said.
Tourists, most of whom take a cricket back home as asouvenir or for the love of the game, fled the valleyovernight following widespread protests during the summer of2010 due to the violent protests against the armed forceshere.
Atleast 15,000 skilled and unskilled workers at the batmanufacturing units here are now hoping that the Indian teammakes it to the title round of the event beginning February19.
Some of these workers may have taken part during the lastsummer''s valley-wide protests but now the considerations arepurely financial as the progress of the national cricket teamat the quadrennial event, which is hosted jointly by India,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, directly affects their business.
"We hope that India makes it at least to the final of theworld cup as it generally further heightens the cricket feveracross the country," Mohammad Amin, owner of the many batmanufacturing units dotting the Jammu-Srinagar NationalHighway, told PTI.
Amin said the business for the bat manufacturers, who arefighting the odds to keep the trade going, was good followingthe excellent show in the 2003 World Cup when Saurav Gangulyled the team to the final before losing to Australia.
"We saw an increase of at least 2.5 times after the 2003World Cup with order and enquiries pouring in from smallercities of the country," he added.
Ghulam Mohiuddin, a worker in a nearby bat manufacturingunit, said if the demand for bats increases, it ensures thatthey get work throughout the year.
"When the demand is low, we get to make bats for five tosix months in a year but if the demand increases, we will haveyear long work," he said.
Mohiuddin said during lean periods, he works odd jobs tosustain his family.
"I generally go with my neighbour, who is a carpenter butthere is hardly any construction work going on in the winterseason," he added. .