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Oldest silk factory in Kashmir reopens after 30 years

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    Srinagar, July 23: The oldest silk factory in Kashmir set up in 1897 with the help of Sir Thomas Wardle, president of the Silk Association of Great Britain, reopened after 30 years on Sunday.

    According the reports, silk yarns were reeled way back in 1988 with the filatures bought from Europe. The Lotus variety of raw silk produced in Kashmir was comparable to the "classical" variant of Italy and "petit extra" of France and was in high demand throughout the world.

    After three decades, Industries and Commerce department under the leadership of commissioner secretary, Shailendra Kumar, led the revival of the historic silk factory of Rambagh.

    Jammu and Kashmir Industries limited, Javid Iqbal, said that the World Bank aid of Rs 12 crore, besides support from the central silk board helped in bringing the industry back into life.

    "In next two months we are going to double the production of the unit. We are going to procure cocoons then convert them into yarns at Rambagh filature which will be then converted into final product at Silk factory Rajbagh," Javid Iqbal told Greater Kashmir newspaper.

    The Oldest silk factory in Kashmir

    The Oldest silk factory in Kashmir

    Renovation work on a 100 year old filature in progress at the silk factory at Solina, in Srinagar. The oldest silk factory in Kashmir, set up in 1897 with the help of Sir Thomas Wardle, president of the Silk Association of Great Britain, reopened after 30 years. Sir Thomas Wardle was a British businessman, known for his innovations in silk dyeing and printing on silk. He collaborated with the designer William Morris, who visited his dyeworks in Leek, Staffordshire to learn how to use natural dyes. He was knighted by Queen Victoria for his services to the silk industry.

     A labourer works inside the 100-year old closed filature

    A labourer works inside the 100-year old closed filature

    He visited Kashmir in 1886, where silk production was in a poor state. He had ideas for its revival, which on his return home he presented to the government; eventually in 1897 he purchased in Europe large amounts of silk-worm eggs and cocoon-reeling machinery for Kashmir, which revived the silk industry.

    A labourer works inside the 100-year old closed filature as renovation work in is progress inside the silk factory at Solina, in Srinagar on Sunday, July 22, 2018. The oldest silk factory in Kashmir, set up in 1897. PTI file photo

     Mulberry cocoons

    Mulberry cocoons

    Kashmir is known for producing one of the finest silk varieties which include 'lotus', 'iris', 'tulip' and 'neel'. The factory closed down due to decreased production and huge losses.

    Laborers sort Mulberry cocoons for processing inside a silk factory at Solina, in Srinagar on Sunday, July 22, 2018.

     Processing of cocoons

    Processing of cocoons

    To ensure better marketing of these products, showrooms will be set up at New Jammu Airport, Katra, and Banihal railway station.

    Mulberry cocoons being processed inside a silk factory at Solina, in Srinagar on Sunday, July 22, 2018. The oldest silk factory in Kashmir. PTI photo

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