Jammu: Babar, the Pashmina Activist and the Global Voice for the Pashmina Industry, who was profiled by TIME Magazine, “The Genius Issue” for his work in Pashmina, in a press conference with various industry stakeholders today alleged that government has failed to implement ban on spinning machines and power looms in the Kashmir valley. The entire industry and the artisans in Kashmir are in troubled waters from last 15 years as the open use of spinning machines have rendered them jobless. The influx of synthetic and non-pashmina from places like Amritsar has killed the Pashmina Industry of Kashmir. It is a well known fact now that machine unit holders in Kashmir indulging in Pashmina are registered for materials and articles other than Pashmina by Directorate of Industries and Commerce and despite serving notice to them they have been continuously operating illegally. Pashmina Handicraft has lost its trust and goodwill in the national and international market because machined Pashmina is faked to hand spun and hand woven and the material coming from Amritsar. He stated that the government has given protection to coppersmiths by enactment Indian Hand-loom Artisans Act 1985.
The Government and authorities should feel the pain and sufferings of starving Artisans who have Right to Bread and whose century’s old means of livelihood is being snatched by greedy machine holders. Pashmina is a part of the cultural industry of the state and no proper check and balance for installation and operations of the power looms, has created a deep void, which the craft men and women cannot fill and this problem continues to grow by the day. He stated that over one Lakh artisans including women spinning pashmina wool have been rendered jobless in the past decade and this issue needs immediate addressing before this problem grows into an irreversible one. The pashmina artisans in Kashmir have been made to suffer because no action is taken against the people using machines for weaving pashmina shawls, nor there is any protection for the artisans who spin the pashmina and weave its shawls by hand.
Babar stated that he along with the industry stakeholders will pick up this issue with the state and the central Government and seek their immediate attention and redressal.