15 years on fur traders wait for rehabilitation
Trade Was Banned In 1997 Rendering 225 Furriers Jobless
Srinagar, Apr 22: Once considered a treasured craft in Kashmir, fur trade is dying a silent death and the artisans and traders dealing with it are running from pillar to post seeking rehabilitation.
Fur trade was banned in the state in 1997 leaving 225 furriers jobless. After waiting for more than 15 years, they are yet to be rehabilitated as was assured by the government.
In the beginning of 1997 fur manufacturers were asked to surrender their stock, after the government decided to put blanket ban on this trade under J&K Wildlife Protection Act, 1978.
Ghulam Rasool Dar, a furrier, is living in abject poverty for the past 15 years as he has no other source of income.
“I had 20 workers working with me, but after the ban all my hopes were dashed. I used to earn more than 20,000 per month by making fur items and also providing job to many of my artisans who used to work with me. But now I have to survive on meager Rs 2000 per month that I earn from making items of sheep skin. Also my two sons who were also in fur business, are unemployed today,” Dar said recalling the days when he used to get orders for making fur coats and jackets from European countries.
“Kashmiri fur industry was famous throughout the world. Kashmir was the largest fur manufacturer in Asia. We used to get orders from foreign countries for famous Kashmiri hand-made fur items. These were liked by people throughout the world,” Dar said adding his customers from foreign countries used to invite him there from doing alteration or redesigning of fur items they had purchased here.
Meanwhile, President All Kashmir Fur Traders Association, Muhammad Yousuf said: “Our community has suffered a lot. We want rehabilitation which the government has been denying us for a long time. We are demanding that furriers whose stock was taken by the government should be given shops at tourist destinations within the municipal limits of Srinagar, so that they can do alternative business.”
Few decades ago Kashmir had a booming fur industry with a lot of people eking out their livelihood from this sector. Fur jackets of Kashmir were famous and tourists used to specifically visit this place in order purchase Kashmiri fur items.
With India being signatory to International Convention on wildlife protection and also due to pressure from wildlife conservation groups, government in 1997 banned the sale and procurement of fur.
“The government is required to take immediate steps for acquiring and destroying the fur stocks held by the furriers in the Valley as inventoried by the Committee and provide suitable alternative means of livelihood to furriers,” government had said in an order issued on 9 September 1997.
The affected fur traders and taxidermists, however, were entitled to receive the compensation for their stock.
A committee headed by the then officers of Wildlife Department, representatives of furriers, State Handicrafts and Forest Departments made an inventory of the stocks in 1997 and also fixed the compensation.
However, even after waiting for 15 years, the affected fur traders are yet to get the compensation.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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