Chinese lights add to Republic Day glitter
‘Come hail or storm, traders will cross Great Wall’
Srinagar, Jan 26: At a time when Chinese products have been flooding the markets world over, even the Republic Day celebrations in this neighbouring country couldn’t stay immune to global trend as festive lights, which illuminated some of the landmarks in the summer Capital Thursday evening, were imported from across the Great Wall.
Though the shops and other private establishments remained shut following a Hartal call from separatist factions in this trouble-torn region in the Himalayas, places like Jehangir Chowk flyover and the Old Secretariat buildings near the City centre wore a festive look as hundreds of LEDs illuminated the government buildings.
THE PRC PRODUCT
A brother duo from old City –the Shaher-e-Khaas –who claimed to have bagged the government contract for the 63rd Republic Day decoration said around 2000 garlands of LEDs were used to ornament the Jehangir Chowk flyover alone. Each garland comes packed in small cubical cartons –named SOAV Festival Light with a slogan “We Lead Others Copy”, a made in PRC (Peoples Republic of China) product.
The brothers, who run an electric goods shop in the volatile old City said for the past few years Chinese products are going trendy in the local markets, given their comparatively low price tag.
KASHMIR INC VIEW
Prominent industrialist and former President Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Syed Shakeel Qalander said Chinese decorative lights have “revolutionized the very concept of illumination.”
“In fact Chinese products have revolutionized everything. And as about this particular product many Indian firms have been wiped off because they couldn’t compete with the comparatively cheaper and more robust lot from the neighbouring country,” Qalander told Greater Kashmir.
Sharing his personal experience, he said such lights had been a part of celebrations in Kashmir, mostly marriages for the past several decades.
“Earlier such lights would be in the form of small electric bulbs which would be damaged on the very first usage and one had to get the bulbs replaced for every new celebrations… Then came comparatively robust lights but they too didn’t last long,” he recapped.
“However, since China introduced LED illumination that too at an unbelievably throwaway prices, say Rs 50 per garland, people switched over to the exotic novelty,” he explained.
“Nobody from India or elsewhere in the world dares to compete them,” the Srinagar based industrial maintained.
THE COUNTRYWIDE TREND
Reports suggest that India's imports from China have grown over 40 times in 11 years from $1.5 billion in 2000-01 to over $43.5 billion in 2010-11. Today, the Chinese fancy lights constitute 95 % of the domestic demand as against less than 20 % five years ago while China commands 90 % market share in the unorganised footwear market in India.
In the toy segment, Chinese imports contribute 40 per cent to the Rs 2,500 crore toy industry in India and China’s penetration is 8-10 per cent in the nearly Rs 6,000 crore Indian ceramic tile industry.
For now in Srinagar, a remote controlled toy helicopter which virtually flies in the air comes at a cost of around Rs 500, which many parents find unbelievably affordable to realize the desire of their tiny tots.
For the past many years, India and China have witnessed intermittently strained relations while apart the central government even the JK government and its officials gave clarion statements against the country housing the Great Wall, one of the seven wonders in the world.
Leave apart Chief Minister Omer Abdullah who bashed the neighbouring country over a sensitive border issue, senior bureaucrat and state’s spokesman Khawaja Farooq RenzuShah sometime back took at dig at the Chinese authorities during a public function where he said many historic Muslim shrines in China there had been demolished in the garb of making old buildings earthquake resistant.
But notwithstanding the spells of strained relations between the two neighbouring nuclear powers, the business fraternity declines to give up their trade relations presumably to uphold a newly coined maxim in vogue: Come hail or storm, traders will cross Great Wall!
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST
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