Kashmir silk industry suffers for want of reeling units
Spun silk vitiates quality of indigenous carpet
Srinagar, Nov 22: Despite having potential to produce reeled mulberry silk in the Valley, the indigenous carpet industry here largely depends on the imported spun silk, something experts describe as an unhealthy trend.
According to experts Kashmir can produce the best quality bi-volatile mulberry silk but the silk yarn used for making carpets in J&K is largely a hand spun that comes from outside.
“Nobody has ever thought of using our own raw-material,” wondered Zubair Ahmad Mir, director, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT), Srinagar.
He pegs the annual production of cocoons in Kashmir roughly at 8 to 8.5 lakh kg. “Of this over 75 to 80 per cent cocoons go outside for reeling,” he said, adding that only around 20 per cent cocoons are used in Kashmir for silk production. “This is because we are having a dearth for reeling units,” he said.
“The yarn we use in our carpets is a short-fibre spun silk which cannot be reeled. It is actually the wastage of the silk that happens during the process of reeling. That is why the spun silk is cheaper than reeled silk,” said Mir.
Experts said by the use of reeled silk the quality of the carpets can improve considerably. “But instead of reeling the silk here, what we do is that we sell the cocoons to outsiders who get silk from them. This silk is being exported to Iran where the artisans use it in their carpets. That is why Iran produces quality carpets and we lag behind,” they said.
Experts said there was a dire need of exploring the possibility of using the silk of Kashmir as raw-material for carpets. “This will increase the employment opportunities in the regional silk industry, for various reeling units could be established in the Valley,” said Mir, adding that this would also help revive the sick industry of the Valley.
“This would also make us able to market our carpet globally with consistent quality,” he said.
He said the IICT has recently undertaken a study on techno-economic feasibility of using reeled mulberry silk produced here as raw-material for hand knotted silk carpets instead of spun silk.
“After a lot of research and effort the institute has made a carpet using reeled silk yarn,” he said.
“It took us around one and half years to establish the specifications for this purpose. We took a lot of trails; it was a huge research, because this was not done by anyone else before in the Valley,” Mir said.
He said the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry had once urged the institute to explore the possibility of using “our own silk for carpets.”
The carpet, thus developed, was demonstrated to a number of carpet artisans, manufactures, exporters including members of KCCI and was displayed in exhibition as well.
“Everybody has appreciated the product and has been impressed with its quality,” said Mir.
He said the reeled mulberry silk carpet could be sold as a brand in the international market, “for it belongs to Kashmir.”
“Everything in it is pure and natural. This carpet will never stink and has got more strength. It will last forever. Longer the length, better the quality,” he said.
He said the only constraint is its cost. “But if you will do a nice marketing of this product in the international market, you will earn five times more than what you are earning at present,” Mir said.
He said the IICT was holding interactive sessions with artisans and manufacturers to explore the possibility of introducing the reeled mulberry silk in the carpet industry in view of its numerous advantages.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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