A delegation of Pashmina exporters from Jammu and Kashmir led by Dr. Hina Bhat Vice Chairperson of Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) met with the Union minister Nitin Gadkari and environment minister Bhupender Yadav at their respective offices in New Delhi on Friday.
According to a statement “The ministers were apprised about the threat to Pashmina industry due to delay in clearance at customs, obtaining test reports of seized shawls is a tedious process, the wrong branding and identification of Pashmina shawls as shahtoosh shawls during inspection by the wildlife department -using obsolete scientific techniques is causing huge losses to the centuries old Pashmina industry.
It said “Currently the wildlife department sends the seized samples to their labs where basic optical microscopes are used to study the suspected guard hair found in the shawls. It was explained to the minister’s that these guard hairs belong to Pashmina goats and every handmade Pashmina shawl has some guard hair present. Due to this process of seizure and subsequent hardships, not only exporters had to face huge losses but also take a dent to their reputation which had a dire effect on Kashmir and its economy as well.”
“The exporters also stressed on study of the warp and weft of a shawl at a Textile committee lab or any authorized textile lab to find the Contents of the shawl. Currently no such test is conducted and only the guard hair is tested which could even be a case of accidental contamination.”
The statement further said “These procedures have resulted in the decline of exports of handmade Pashmina forcing some of the exporters to either quit export of handmade shawls or choose cheaper machine made shawls to export. It will be devastating for the Pashmina industry if this practice continues and eventually threaten livelihood of five lakh artisans and thousands of traders.”
Both the ministers heard grievances of the exporters and assured swift action on this matter by adopting latest techniques like using scanning electron microscopes and DNA technology to identify guard hair of suspected shawls and not seize Pashmina shawls wrongly, it said.
The delegation of exporters included Mr. Mubbashir Ahmed Shaw, Tariq Ahmed Dar, Imran Rashid Darzi , Bilal Ahmed Beigh, Naqeed Qazi and Abdul Manan Baba and others.
The delegation thanked the ministers for hearing their grievances and assuring full support to the exporters and resolving this issue at the earliest.
Dr.Hina Bhat has assured the exporters, her full support till this matter is resolved as this matter is of grave concern and will affect a large population of artisans in Kashmir valley, the statement added.