Leh district administration decides to go for auction of raw Pashmina collected from farmers to provide them good returns. The Leh district administration in its notification has asked bidders to submit their tenders. According to the notification the Chairman, Pashmina Auction Committee, Leh, JK, offers to sell raw Pashmina (8090 kgs) having the standard of below 15 micron, through open bidding for all interested parties. All interested traders/firms are invited to participate in the bidding. The auction of raw pashmina will be held on January 15 in New Delhi.
This has raised a controversy in Kashmir with local stakeholders terming it as violation of industrial policy. The stakeholders demand blanket ban on sale of Pashmina in raw form to the outside traders.
As per the stakeholders, the state industrial policy bars sale of Pashmina raw material to outside traders without any value addition being done in Jammu and Kashmir. This would hit the pashmina industry in Kashmir affecting thousands of livelihoods.
Recently the officials of Union Textile Ministry had constituted a committee of which Deputy Commissioner Leh was a member. The committee has recommended the various measures for upgrading the livelihood of pashmina farmers.
Out of many recommendations, the committee suggested to go for open bidding of raw pashmina to fetch good returns for farmers. There is nothing wrong in it, neither is it against the state Industrial policy.
To mention, this year the Financial Commissioner, Commerce and Industries has made SICOP nodal agency for creation and maintaining of a Pashmina raw material bank in order to make available raw pashmina to weavers and traders.
In this regard, a high- delegation of officials of SICOP, Industries department and pashmina Karigar (artisan) Union had visited Leh and held deliberation with the Leh district administration.
A senior official of Industries Department said that Leh authorities have been openly going against the interests of artisans and weavers in Kashmir. They have been selling raw pashmina in open auctions despite the Industrial policy barring any such move. They donâ€™t even obey the orders from the Chief Minister of the state issued from time to time.
Meanwhile, the stakeholders in Kashmir said that the auction/open bidding shows the failure of state machinery to save interest of destitute and poor artisans and weavers.
President, Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir (FCIK), Muhammad Ashraf Mir said that the open bidding in which outside state traders would participate would dent the Kashmir pashmina industry providing employment to lakhs of people including widows, destitute, downtrodden. The state Industrial policy bans sale of raw material to outside state traders/firms.
Only material can be sold outside the state when some kind of value addition has been done to it, like in case of willows which are first converted into willow clefts then sold outside the state.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Sheikh Ashiq said. They have taken up the matter with the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and other concerned officials. They cannot let Leh District administration play with the livelihood of thousands of artisans.
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