Century old silk factory renovated, 50 thousand families to benefit in valley
Pashmina from the Kashmir Valley is extremely famous, but little is known about the Silk produced in Kashmir. The Mulberry Silk from Kashmir valley is considered of high quality with great demand from across the world.
It is sold across the world with huge demand from buyers. But the main Silk Factory in Jammu Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar was completely damaged in the 2014 floods. And now, with the help of the World Bank, this heritage factory is being restored to its previous glory.
'When we had floods in 2014, more than 50 percent of the machinery was damaged, we have two sections, one is throwing section another one is weaving, we had lost 50 percent of spindles damaged. Earlier, we used to produce 38 varieties of silk but due to the damage, we went down to eight,'' said Zameer Ilahi, Manager of a Silk Factory in Kashmir.
''Due to the machinery and the yarn we use in silk. We couldn't change the twist and because of that we had fixed varieties. We got new machines and equipment and they are class apart, warping and new looms. whatever technical issues we were facing are now being taken care of and we are making new varieties . We will be able to to make 2.5 lakh meters of silk every year, '' he added.
Around 50 thousand families are associated with silk in the Kashmir Valley. And now the world bank has sponsored the restoration of this factory by funding it with more than 12 crore rupees.
''For the first time ever in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, we have actually done a survey and a comprehensive database of artisans has been created. Roundabout 3.5 lakh artisans have been enrolled in that database and we now know which artist caters to which industry. We are targeting 40 thousand families at the end of our project in the silk industry and the revival of the silk industry to make sure in the second stage we link it up with markets like e-commerce so as to provide them a global market. As a result, the industry can revive back to its pristine glory. '' said Abid Rashid Shah, CEO JKERA.
More than 35 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-quality silk in the valley.
'' Since 1984 I have been working here. Due to floods, we lost everything, the new machinery is good, 36 people work here in total. This is a great factory where I have been earning my bread and butter. The money I made here is the reason I could run my house and pay for the education of my children. '' said Fateh Mohammad, Worker.
The new machinery has also helped the artisans in taking off a lot of workload. ''I have been working here for last 30 years, I have been drafting the silk since we lost everything in the 2014 floods and no machine was working. everything we had made, we lost it and even the stuff we have in the showroom was lost too. we used to work on old machines manually but with the new ones we don't have to do much. '' said Mohd Rafiq, Worker.
The factory's resurrection is part of the government's plan to boost silk production across Jammu and Kashmir. 50 thousand cocoon-producing farmers will be benefitted by it.