Amritsar shawls threaten Kashmiri Pashminas | SupportBiz

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Amritsar shawls threaten Kashmiri Pashminas

The Pashmina shawl weaving industry in the Kashmir valley has almost disappeared, owing to the large-scale automated production of shawls in nearby Amritsar. Pashmina manufacturers and traders in Kashmir rue the fact that the Amritsari shawls have ruined their industry.

“The Pashmina shawl weaving industry is a very old and world-renowned one. It employs over two lakh people across the Kashmir valley, most of whom are women. Over the past few years, there has been a decline of over 70% in the industry,” says Abdul Majeed Chaku, a Kashmiri manufacturer of Pashmina shawls.

“Earlier, there were over 5 lakh weavers in the Kashmir valley, involved in this industry. These days, there is not much demand for the hand-made shawls, due to their comparatively higher prices,” says Chaku.

“It takes at least 20 days to weave one shawl, as they are entirely hand-made, while the manufacturers in Amritsar make them quickly using machines. However, the Amritsari shawls are of an inferior quality,” says Majeed Mattoo, another manufacturer and trader of Pashmina shawls.

“People like to buy cheaper shawls, but they are not aware of the difference in the quality,” Mattoo says.

“The state government should develop a trade centre at Kashmir to improve the prospects of the weavers. It will give them an opportunity to display their artwork and sell it by themselves. There should also be proper certification for the authentic hand-woven Pashmina shawls, to make the customers aware of the quality,” says Chaku.

"Most traders sell Amritsar-made Pashmina shawls as the customers prefer buying them for their better looks and lower prices. Not many traders import shawls from Kashmir," says Mintu Kumar, a manufacturer and trader of shawls in Amritsar.