New Delhi: With the revival of Kashmir centuries old Kashmir silk factory with imported and latest automatic machinery, Kashmir silk production will rise from 50,000 meters to 3 lakh meters per year. This revival and boost to this factory has bought also smile to faces of around 40,000 families whose livelihoods directly depend on it.
There is a huge demand for mulberry silk from the Kashmir valley by buyers across the world. However, the main silk factory in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar was completely damaged in the 2014 floods.
But now under the Prime Minister's development package for Jammu and Kashmir, the Jhelum Tawi flood recovery project has restored this heritage factory with modern techniques.
Abid Rashid Shah, the Chief Executive Officer of JKERA/JTFRP said, "World bank funded Jhelum Tawi flood recovery project under the PM development package. We tried to revive the silk industry and link it with the modern market. There was an old silk factory in Rajbagh which was in very bad condition. But it is now fully restored and a beautiful building has been built. Its capacity has been increased and equipment has been brought from outside."
He added, "It will revive the silk trade of Kashmir in the coming time. Our efforts are also to take Kashmir silk in the international silk market." We have hired a consultancy to do Jammu and Kashmir product branding at the international level."
During the 2014 Kashmir floods, the factory was completely damaged, with the livelihoods of thousands also impacted. Out of the total 38 varieties of silk that were produced at the factory, only 8 varieties were produced after the damage. However, now new machines and world-class equipment, warping and new looms have been installed at the factory, enabling it to produce almost 2.5 lakh meters of silk every year now.
Workers of this factory say production increase means an increase of our income too and there will be job opportunities for other youngsters too.
Silk farmer Javid Ahmed Shah says, "At least 30-40,000 people are connected to this trade in Kashmir. There will be a lot of profit by installing new machines. We used to produce around 50,000 meters silk earlier. Now, with new machinery the production will go around 3 lakh meters per year. Appreciating authorities, he said, "It is a very good step taken by the government for Kashmir, the government has taken a very good step. Inshallah Kashmir will emerge again."
Around 40,000 families are associated with the silk trade in Kashmir Valley. And now the world bank has sponsored the restoration of this factory by funding it with more than Rs 18 crore under the PM development program for Jammu and Kashmir.
More than 38 varieties of Silk are produced in the Kashmir Valley. And the artisans working in this industry are happy that they will be able to work again to produce world class silk in the valley. This will too bring kashmir silk on world silk market map.
Artisan Maymoona Mir says, "A lot of change has happened in this factory, we are very happy since this new unit started, we have high hopes. we want our factory to grow more and more."
The factory's restoration is part of the government's plan to boost silk production across Jammu and Kashmir and to generate employment for locals.