Srinagar: With economy of Indian Kashmir being handed a telling blow due to unrest in last four months or so, it has cast its shadow to the cricket bat manufacturing industry of the valley as well.
Bat manufactures of the valley, involved in of Rs. 30 crore business, are busy dissecting the losses incurred in ‘tumultuous’ period during which the civilian killings, curfews, shutdowns and protests have been a order of the day in the valley.
The bat manufacturing hub, what many dub it as spanning over seven villages of South Kashmir on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway-Charsoo, Halmulla, Bijbhera, Sanagam, Sethar, Pujteng and Mirzapor-is famous worldwide for producing willow bats second to only English willowed bats.
Industry , that supplies over a half million bats per year-most of them from these seven villages- has been reeling under debts as production stopped wholesale during the period.
One can see huge piles of handless bats untouched for last four months in most of the manufacturing units, giving sleepless nights to the all concerned.
Ghulam Mohammad, a factory owner, told Agence India Press that we are bankrupt. We have had literally zero business over the last four months. All the raw material stays untouched as situation didn’t allow us to start our normal work.
Charsoo village houses about 70 manufacturing units, producing more than 70,000 bats but latest events have given them tough times and rendering many jobless.
“Our factory is closed. We have made hardly 2,000 bats this season but there are no takers. During the normal days we fetch up to Rs 12,000 a day which goes up during the cricket matches,” he says, adding that he did lay off some of his workers as there was no business. “It feels bad but I was forced to ask some of my employees to leave as I couldn’t afford to pay them salary.”
With transport facility not available for the most part of the summer, already manufactured bats couldn’t be supplied outside the valley.
Normal proceedings in Kashmir got punctured after a killing of a 17 year old boy, Tufail Ahmed Matoo of old city, by a police tear gas shell when he was on his way home after attending tuitions on June 11 this year.
Killing led to valley wide protests and shutdowns spearheaded by Syed Ali Shah Geelani led Hurriyat (G) by coming up with its “Quit Kashmir’ campaign as Authorities, on its part, came down hardly on protesters by imposing curfews. The events have led to the 111 civilian killings thus far allegedly by police and paramilitary forces.
After getting impressed by willow quality of Kashmiris, Britishers had passed their bat manufacturing skills to Kashmiris.
Mohammad Sultan Bhat, another factory owner, fears that with raw material untouched for all these months, the quality of bats might be affected when normal activities resume in the valley.
“You can see so much of raw material being stocked in our factories without being used due to situation in Kashmir. It may affect quality of bats. Now we are thinking not to use this raw material, it would mean more losses to our already ailing industry,” rues Bhat.
With Kashmir showing signs of limping back to normalcy, bat manufacturing fraternity would like to score some sort of stability in the future.
Copyright © 2010 AIPTV. All rights reserved. http://agenceindiapress.com