New Delhi/UNI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Pulwama in Kashmir is playing an important role in educating the entire country as 90 per cent of the country's demand for the pencil slats and timber casings comes from this district.
Addressing his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme, the Prime Minister said, 'My dear countrymen, today, Pulwama in Kashmir is playing an important role in educating the entire country. Today, when children all over the nation do their homework, or prepare notes, somewhere behind this lies the hard work of the people of Pulwama! The Kashmir Valley meets almost 90 per cent demand for the Pencil Slats, timber casings of the entire country, and of that, a very large share comes from Pulwama.'
'Once upon a time we used to import wood for pencils from abroad, but, now our Pulwama is making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making. In fact, these Pencil Slats of Pulwama are reducing the gaps between states! Chinar wood of the valley has high moisture content and softness, which makes it most suitable for the manufacture of pencils,' Modi said.
The Prime Minister said, 'In Pulwama, Oukhoo is known as the Pencil Village. Here, several manufacturing units of Pencil Slats are located, which provide employment, and, in these units, a large number of women are employed.'
Pulwama gained this recognition when individuals of this place decided to do something new, took risks and dedicated themselves towards it, Mr Modi added.
'One such enterprising person is Manzoor Ahmad Alai. Earlier, Manzoor bhai was a simple workman involved in woodcutting. Manzoor bhai wanted to do something new so that his coming generations wouldn't have to live in poverty. He sold his ancestral land and established a unit to manufacture Apple wooden boxes. He was engaged in his small business when he came to know that Poplar wood, Chinar wood is being used in manufacturing pencils. After getting this information, Manzoor bhai channeled his entrepreneurial spirit and started the supply of Poplar wooden boxes to some famous pencil manufacturing units,' the Prime Minister said.
'Manzoor Ji found this to be extremely profitable and his income grew considerably at the same time. With the passage of time, he bought pencil slat manufacturing machinery and started the supply of pencil slats to some of the biggest companies of the country. Today, Manzoor bhai's turnover from this business is in crores and is a source of livelihood for around two hundred people,' Mr Modi said.
'Today, through Mann Ki Baat, I, on behalf of all countrymen commend Manzoor bhai and the enterprising brothers and sisters of Pulwama along with their families - All of you are making invaluable contributions in educating the young minds of our country,' the Prime Minister said.