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.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kashmir's Industrial Icons are Fast Disappearing

Who Can believe Kashmir's brand factories like the Silk Weaving Factory in Raj Bagh or the Joinery Mill in Pampore are about to disappear!

9 PSUs come under axe, 6 in row

MUDDASIR ALI (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: At a time when the economic meltdown has hit the job industry across the globe, the government has closed down nine of its public sector undertakings resulting in unemployment to hundreds of people.

Besides, six other factories including Government Silk Weaving factory, Rajbagh, Government Bemina Woolen Mills, Government Joinery Mill Pampore and Bari Bramina, knitting factory Jammu, and Modern Rosin and Turpentine factory, Miran Sahib are at the verge of closure due to the inadequate infrastructure, manpower and government’s lack of interest to revive the units.

Under the control of J&K Industries Department the sickness of the factories with least chances of their revival have been cited by the government as reasons for closing down the nine factories even as government has admitted that the units were lacking modern technology and manpower for past many years.

Facing a closure threat, the building and machinery of the unit once renowned for production of quality tweeds, blankets and worsted suiting is in a dilapidated condition for want of purchase of equipments, repair and replacement of machinery and major up gradation of existing infrastructure.

For want of revival the factory, which once used to produce 3.58 metric lakhs of cloth annually has incurred accumulated losses of Rs 4493 lakhs till March 2008. The engagement of additional 91 employees than required in the unit established in 1971 has also led to increase in the losses suffered over the years.

Established in 1939 with an annual production of 3.50 metric tons of silk annually, the unit has almost become defunct as the entire plant and the machinery installed in it has outlived its life as no major up gradation has been undertaken since 1941.

Government said due to the frequent breakdown in the obsolete machinery, the production of the factory has decreased drastically contributing to the sickness of the factory.

Craving for modernization of its infrastructure which was imported from United Kingdom and Belgium, the factory has suffered accumulated losses of Rs 3680 lakhs till last year.

Lack of modern machinery, unskilled manpower and least attention by the successive governments towards the factories has been cited as the reason for the growing sickness of other four industries.

Government wakes up to sickness of factories:
Two separate sub-committees with members from various government departments have been set up to consider the revival plans for Rs 163 lakhs and Rs 260 lakhs respectively for Woolen and Silk factories. Government is also mulling the preparation of revival plans for Joinery Mills Pampore and Bari Bramina, knitting factory and Modern Rosin and Turpentine factory.

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