Mohammad Iqbal Mir
The initiation of carpet weaving in Kashmir is attributed to king (Zain –ul-Abidin). Like many known as a great lover of the carpet weaving. Nevertheless however the craft was taken on commercial lines in 19th century and prior to this period the Mughal Rural patronized the craft to a great extent. A survey report compiled about Handicrafts activities in 1974 reveals the number of carpet weavers as just 3,443 and the production level confined to Rs 208.00 lacs only
In the early seventies the demand for carpets from Kashmir increased due to the ban imposed on carpet weaving in Iran, the main source of oriental carpets in the international Markets. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir realizing the position and Kashmir being the only alternate source available stood up in a big way and launched the Massive carpet programme in carpet weaving so that the sufficient skilled weavers are trained and out poured for the industry. Initiated in 1976 the scheme was taken in hands by
(1) All India Handicrafts Board now known as office of Development commissioner Handicrafts Government of India.
(2) H.H.E.C (Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India).
(3) Directorate of Handicrafts Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
(4) J&K Handicrafts (S&E) Corporation.
These agencies executed the Massive carpet training programme in Jammu and Kashmir with the aim and objective of providing artisan force to carpet industry both in rural as well as in urban areas. At present all India Handicrafts run the Massive carpet scheme and trained pupils in carpet weaving as H.H.E.C. (Handicraft and Handloom Export Corporation) has closed its activities. The training centres from Handicrafts Corporation have been transferred to Handicrafts Development Department
Under Massive carpet training programme about 80 thousand weavers have been trained till date and the process still continuing. This is an achievement as compared to number of weavers in 1973-74. The training is imparted both in elementary as well as in advance courses. About 60% of the trained youths are engaged in private carpet units and rest have installed their own looms
This is an admitted fact that carpet industry plays a vital role in the economy of the state of J&K and is rated as No. 1 industry out of the seven major Handicrafts of the state. The industry is not only job oriented but also a leading foreign exchange earner. The position can be ascertained from the fact that the value of Handicraft goods exported in 2002_03 has been to the tune of Rs. 750 crores out of which the 60% is carpet share. At present the manufacturing of carpet has become a viable industry engaging more than eighty thousand people besides those who are professionals in designing finishing and washing. Stress is however being laid on manufacturing of silken carpet. It is under the banner of however being laid on manufacturing of silken carpet it is under the banner of Handicrafts department that massive carpet scheme has been playing a vital role in increasing the production (6) level by increasing the number of artisans which ultimately add to the production base in carpet industry. Manufacturing of woollen carpets is rare in private sector. In Massive carpet scheme only woollen carpet in traditional designs are woven and are sold locally
The aims and objectives of launching massive training programme in carpet weaving was to extend the work force to rural areas which was earlier restricted to urban areas only. This objective has been fulfilled to a large extent. There is but confusing in training programme launched by various agencies with regard to duration of training courses need to be looked into and programme needs to be reviewed and brought under one banner.
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