Srinagar, May 01: The continuous lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus has severely hit the livelihood of hundreds of persons in Jammu and Kashmir associated with handicraft sector.
Thousands of persons who make different types of handicraft products with items and materials traditionally said that due to clampdown after August 05 and lockdown to stop spread of covid-19, they suffered huge losses as they are unable to sell their products.
Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), they said that they are unable to get the required raw material for making products of Pashmina, Shawl, Carpet, Silverware, Woodwork, Crewel embroidery, Phool kari, Kashmiri rug and Papier-mache and they are going through tough times.
“We are not sure how long will this lockdown continue and after failing to earn our livelihoods we are living in panic situation,” said Arif Ahmad, a weaver hailing from Chaar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district.
He said that he was not being able to travel outside his villages and was not able to bring items like threads of different colours to carry on with his work on the carpet that he is working on presently.
His views were echoed by some other weavers who said that with each passing day the panic among the weavers and artisans is increasing as they already have gone through tough times after August 05 last year when the Union government announced abrogation of article 370.
“Since very little tourists visited Kashmir after August 05 lockdown, we were not able to sell our products and we have been sitting idle at home,” they said.
“We are unable to sell our exquisite shawls manufactured locally to the visiting tourists or send them to markets outside Kashmir,” said Shakeel Ahmad from Pulwama district.
He said that people engage themselves with the handicrafts sector in winter and all products that were made during the previous months are lying at his home as nobody is purchasing these products amid lockdown.
“I was providing work to over 100 people in my area but due to lockdown and non-availability of raw material no one is in a position to work,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, another artisan who helps others to be part of the working group of artisans.
“If things continue like this we will have to face a lot of financial issues in coming months,” he added. Pertinently Handicraft industry, an important key in the economic development of J&K is providing employment opportunities to thousands of people and is considered as second largest preferable industry after in Kashmir valley.