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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

J & K Bank Woman Entrepreneur Of Year

Rubeena's floriculture venture touches new heights

Srinagar: Behind every successful man, there is a woman, may sound a cliché. But its paraphrasing has seldom been done as few men have contributed to the success of females in their entrepreneurial ventures or other professional fields.

Here is one such example. Rubeena Tabassum of Yarikalan Chadoora Budgam, a house wife, who aspired to become an entrepreneur, received a huge setback when the financial institutions declined to provide her assistance for establishing a unit dealing in commercial floriculture, the training for which she received from Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI).

"When I submitted the detailed project report about the floriculture unit to the Bank in 2006, they categorically declined to provide any loan and termed the concept as new and not a viable one," Rubeena told Greater Kashmir. After rejection from the Bank, Rubeena said that she saw her dreams shattered for the lack of financial support. However, the aspiring entrepreneur received the much needed financial support from her husband, who took the consumer loan and financed the project.

According to Rubeena, she also received moral support and cooperation from JKEDI during the tough times and struggle in her endeavour. "I am highly thankful and extend my gratitude to the consultant hired by the EDI for showing the way to establish the unit and marketing the products in New Delhi," Rubeena said.

"I acquired four kanal of land on lease, developed it and erected three green houses with the help of EDI consultant, naming it M/S United Floritech at Budgam," Rubeena said. Rubeena said that she planted carnation flower, also called noble flower, imported from Delhi in all the three green houses and later sold the produce successfully in Delhi's flower mandi.

The entrepreneurs said in 2007 she planted carnations in five green houses and also cultivated Lillium under agro-shade nets. "We harvested the crop and dispatched it to Delhi, wherein the flowers were sold in a jiffy," she said adding the flower grading comprising size, colour, height and stem structure was much better than others brought from different States. She said the carnation gives two crops in a year while as Lillium bulbs can be stored and re-planted to have another crop.

Rubeena, after successfully cultivating the crop and making a good profit, was approached by the financial institutions willing to support her project. "I was amazed to see the overwhelming response of these institutions who earlier refused to provide any loan," Rubeena said adding that after receiving assistance from one of the bank, she expanded her business by procuring more land and erecting two more green houses taking its number to seven. The entrepreneur said that she also received 5-year grant under technological mission of National Horticulture Board (NHB).

"This year, we planted Lillium in two green houses and did open cultivation of Gladiolus on six more kanal of land," she said. Rubeena said adding a small nursery of aromatic plants like lavender and Rosademisene has also been established in the unit. She said the produce of the crop has been sent to Delhi and has fetched good amount of money.

Rubeena said that she wants to further expand her business by going into business of aromatic plants on huge scale and extraction of oil.

The recipient of "J&K Bank woman entrepreneur of the year 2006 award" from the JK Bank chairman Dr. Haseeb Drabu on "International Women's Day," for excelling in floriculture, Rubeena said that she intended to become a medico at an earlier age. "Now I regret the days I wished to become a doctor. I had never dreamt that I would do something that will bring me such laurels. The best thing about successful entrepreneurship is that it is a job-generating enterprise. I can provide employment to people," she said while giving all the credit to her husband for making a name for herself.

(Greater Kashmir)

No comments: