Jammu and Kashmir: Craft Mela fetches Rs 12 lakh business for artisans
Srinagar: At a time when the business fraternity in the Valley is facing severe economic hardships owing to the lockdown after the abrogation of Article 370 last year followed by the Coronavirus pandemic, artisans in the past 12 days have done a business of around Rs 12 lakh at the craft Mela organised by the Handicraft department at Kashmir Haat.
According to the officials, the basic purpose of organising the fair was to involve the local artisans and weavers whose business opportunities have hampered due to the current circumstances in the Valley and other parts of India.
“From the past year the business has suffered a lot. The handicrafts unsold inventory was swelling. Artisans and weavers are considered as a vulnerable section so we decided to organize this fair after a lot of deliberations to provide the marketing linkages to these people,” Masarat-ul-Islam, Director Handicrafts said.
He also said that due to COVID-19, the artisans were not able to go to different places for exhibitions hence to enhance their business here, the craft Mela was organised.
The local artisans, who were sitting idle due to the prevailing situation, expressed joy by being able to participate in the fair.
“This (fair) has helped us a lot as post abrogation of Article 370, I have been staying at home only. My stock was ready but there were no buyers. Coming to this fair at such a time has been a godsend,” said Umer Sumji, proprietor Sahara Handicrafts. Masarat-ul-Islam said that though small the initiative has been successful as artisans have fetched a business of Rs 12 lakh in two weeks.
Mohammad Shafi, Manager Central Market, Kashmir Haat said that they have 68 stalls and right now 25 to 28 are functional.
“We just extended this fair by 15 more days so that artisans get to earn more. We provided stalls to artisans free of cost and all expenses were borne by the department of handicrafts,” he said.
Another artisan, Masarat Ara said that the government should organize such fairs continuously so that no artisan has to suffer.
While talking about Covid-19 fear in people, Umer said that the government should organize more of them as people would come out of their homes and fight the fear of pandemic.
“Less people are coming here at present because of the pandemic fear but if the government takes more such initiatives people will come out of their homes to explore,” Umar said. Another artist, Ishfar Ali said that this fair proved to be a boon for him as most of his paintings and calligraphy pieces got sold.
"This is my first live demo experience and today I can say that my contacts have increased. I received bulk orders and sold many of my paintings. This should continue as it gives me a chance to make my livelihood going," Ali said.
Though the footfall remains low at this place but the government is taking steps to involve the public and people are gradually coming and business is growing steadily.
“To make it more attractive we have taken up the initiative of holding the cultural programs every evening. The evenings remain busy here. In the coming days, we will also introduce food marts and kids fun zones while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines,” Director Handicrafts remarked.
"We want to run Kashmir Haat on the pattern of Delhi Haat, which goes on round the year. We want to convert it into a spot of an attraction which will always be surrounded by people," he said.