TIMELY-Trade in J&K poised for big boost
Vivek Suri | 17 Mar 2008

Trade in J&K poised for big boost 40,000 carpet weaving looms in J&K to be modernized


Trade in J&K poised for big boost


40,000 carpet weaving looms in J&K to be modernized



JAMMU, MARCH 17: To give a fresh lease of life to world famous Kashmiri carpets, the Centre government has decided to modernize 40,000 carpet weaving looms in Jammu and Kashmir over the next five years. For this purpose, the central government would extend financial assistance of Rs. 17 crore annually, the Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said in Srinagar today while assuring full support from the central government to boost trade and commerce activities in Jammu and Kashmir.


“Eight thousand looms would be modernized every year for which the government would provide 75 per cent assistance. For this, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank authorities need to explore possibility of providing soft loans to artisans,” said Mr Ramesh who was in Srinagar today in connection with the foundation stone laying ceremony of Rs. 115.84 crores International Trade Centre (ITC) at Pampore, South Kashmir.


As an entirely new initiative to promote trade in Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Jairam Ramesh and the J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad laid the foundation stone of the Rs. 115.84 crores International Trade Centre (ITC) at Pampore.


To be completed in two years, the ITC would be the first of its kind in J&K with the state of the art exhibition halls, facilitating international exhibitions in the Valley during summer, a period when extreme hot weather conditions did not permit holding of such exhibitions in Delhi and other parts of the country. It would be spread over on a vast area of 371 kanals of land.


The project would be completed in two phases, the first to be of the order of Rs. 48.59 crores. The central government, as a special case, has agreed to fund the project to the extent of Rs. 30 crore initially.


Viewed as a significant step taken by the State government in tandem with the union ministry of commerce, the ITC would provide opportunity to all kinds of businessmen and a vast force of 3.5 lakh artisans of the State to promote their trade by serving as the venue for national and international exhibitions to sell their products without intermediaries. The ITC would also hold buyer-seller meets and apart from handicrafts, promote handlooms, horticulture and tourism.


Hoping that ITC like Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Craft Development Institute and Indian Institute of Carpet Technology would give a major boost to handicrafts, handlooms and other such sectors in the state which is faced with terrorism, Mr Ramesh informed that as a special case, the Central government, has released Rs. 30 crore for setting up of the centre. Only Rs. 14 to 15 crore were released for similar centres at Chennai, Kolkatta, Bangalore and Guwhati. He said ITC at Pampore would be completed during next two years and would provide facilities of international standards for holding exhibitions, fairs and buyer-seller meets. He said Entrepreneurship Development Institute coming up near the site of ITC Pampore is to be completed by end of coming June and would boost trade and economic activities in the state.


Terming the laying of foundation of the ITC a historic moment for the trade in the State, Mr. Azad said Kashmir's ITC would be of the reckoning of the Indian Trade Fair Centre, New Delhi. It would be open for a greater period of the year than the later as weather conditions in the Valley were conducive for holding national and international exhibitions during summers. The ITC would not only help the trade in the State grow but also benefit traders of the country who want to exhibit their products in international exhibitions.


With international flights operating from Srinagar any time soon this year, the Chief Minister said the coming up of the ITC would boost local trade activities including handicrafts which he said sustained the economy during the long turmoil in the valley. He asked the local traders to prepare themselves for export boom in the coming years. He said the annual export of handicrafts from the State was to the tune of Rs. 1500 crore which needs to be increased to Rs. 5000 crore. He emphasized on the need to take measures for the betterment of the artisans. He said handicrafts sector had been a major contributor to the state's economy and during last 20 years when other sectors received a set back it kept the economy of Kashmir alive. He appreciated the skill and entrepreneurship of the artisans who despite difficulties kept the industry alive.


In Pampore only, the construction work on Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) started on October 22, 2007 at a cost of Rs. 10 crore at Pampore, is on and would be completed soon. The EDI would train entrepreneurs in their trades and promote congenial atmosphere for growth of trading activities in the State.