Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This Industry in Kashmir has an Annual Turnover of Rs. 2,000 Crores and Employs 100,000, but has nothing to do with either tourism or carpets

Kashmir's bat industry is garnering impressive economic figures but there is trouble brewing on the horizon

Kashmir bat industry grapples with problems

Imran Khan (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The bat industry in Kashmir is facing a tough time these days despite employment provider to more than 1 lakh people and a turnover of Rs 2000 crore annually. The Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association's Hulamullah stall at the 54th Industrial and Handicrafts Exhibition has tried to put forth the potential and prospects of this lucrative industry. The industry is concentrated around Bijbihara town in South Kashmir but lack of promotion from government is putting the industry in jeopardy.

“The bat manufacturing industry having an annual turn over of over Rs 2000 crores is presently plagued by host of issues including, the smuggling of raw material, taxation by the government as well as occupation of the sports industrial complex by paramilitary forces at Bijbehara”, Jawed Ahmed Dar, Spokesman, Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association said.

Through this exhibition we are trying to highlight all these issues so that people who come here get to know the status of this indigenous industry and the government takes necessary initiatives to help this industry sustain and grow further, he added.

The Kashmir willow bat is famous across the globe and presently there are over 100 bat manufacturing units operating in the valley with brands like Alfa, Desso, Dar sons and Servo having made their mark in the cricket bat arena. However illegal smuggling of raw material to places like Jalander is drastically affecting the market of bats across India.

“The smugglers export raw material, i.e the cleft to places like Jalander despite a ban on export of such raw material. They get away by bribing the officers at Lakhan Pur post and make their own bats with our clefts and sell them under their own brand names. We have approached the government departments and have discussed this issue but till date nothing has been done as the government only makes false promises without taking concrete steps on ground,” Dar added.
The problems have further been compounded by the Sales tax department who are asking for sales tax proceeds for bygone years.

“Sales tax dept is also creating problems as they are asking all the manufacturers for sales tax proceeds from 2002 to 2006.We were not informed before hand because of which we have not been able to get the tax proceeds from exporters to whom we have sold the goods or even the C form from exporters has not been obtained by us.” Dar said.

The major export markets of cricket bats in India are Bombay, Delhi, and Ahmedabad and at all these places bats are being supplied by manufacturers of Bijbehara.

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