Outside bat manufacturers eye Kashmir willow

Lobby in JK for removal of ban on export of clefts


Srinagar, Mar 12: In a major concern to state’s famed cricket bat industry, some outside investors are lobbying in Jammu and Kashmir for removal of ban on the export of willow clefts.
 Sources said that some outside bat manufacturing companies with an eye on the Kashmir willow— considered to be the best raw material for bat manufacturing — have been aggressively trying to persuade the government to lift the ban on its export from J&K.
 Sources said the removal of the ban would hit the indigenous cricket bat industry in Jammu and Kashmir, besides robbing the state of its willow resource.
 The Kashmiri willow, according to experts, is considered to be the best raw material for cricket bats. “The cricket bats manufactured in the state get huge demand from across the world primarily because of the quality of willow clefts used in its making,” they said, adding that however there is lack of new technology that has been introduced outside the state in this industry.
 “Due to more than 20 years’ unrest in the state, this industry has been suffering,” they said.
 According to stakeholders removing the ban on the export of willow clefts will be prove as the final nail in the coffin for this sector.
 Pertinently, the state government in order to safeguard the interests of the cricket bat industry has banned the export of willow clefts.    
 “I was informally informed by Industries Department to attend a meeting to discuss supply of willow clefts to outside bat manufacturers,” said President, Kashmir Bat Manufacturers’ Association, Nazir Ahmad Salroo, adding that it seems “the government is making up its mind to allow the export of willow clefts”, which according to him would ruin the state’s cricket bat industry.
 “It takes 42 years for a willow to develop into a big tree and attain the required girth sufficient enough to produce clefts,” he said. 
 President, Jammu Bat Manufacturers’ Association, Bhansi Lal Gupta said: “If the government allows export of willow clefts more than 800 manufacturing units in the state will be rendered dysfunctional.”
  “There are more than 50,000 people who are directly or indirectly earning their livelihood through this industry,” he said.
 “It is against the state industrial policy to allow any supply of willow clefts to outside parties. JK’s Industrial policy is providing equal perks and benefits to outside investors but clearly disallows any quota of local material to outside industrialists,” President , FCIK, Zahoor Ahmad said.
 When contacted, Director Industries, Mehraj-ud-din Keno said: “Government of India has invited the bat manufacturers of the state for a meeting. The meeting is regarding the value addition to this sector and there is no proposal of providing any supply of clefts to outside industrial players,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST

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