Kashmir sans lab to test particles of banned Shahtoosh from Pashmina items

Have taken up issue with the Central government: Director Handicrafts
Kashmir sans lab to test particles of banned Shahtoosh from Pashmina items
Pashmina exporters say that in order to clear their products for export to international markets, the Customs department and Wildlife department has to ensure that shipments are Shahtoosh free. [File]GK Photo

Srinagar: Kashmir’s handicraft exporters suffer in absence of a certified laboratory to check the presence of banned Shahtoosh in the export consignments, which results in delay in transportation of shipments to foreign countries.

Pashmina exporters say that in order to clear their products for export to international markets, the Customs department and Wildlife department has to ensure that shipments are Shahtoosh free.

These exporters say that as the J&K sans certified lab for checking Shahtoosh presence. “Our export shipments are to be taken to the Dehradun lab for checking the presence of the banned product.”

Senior vice president Kashmir Pashmina Organisation (KPO), Musadiq Shah, said “In the past three years around 40 shipments of different exporters got halted as some of the samples had to be checked for the presence of banned Shahtoosh. We understand and are fully cooperative for the checking of our material for illegal products but there should be a certified testing lab in Kashmir so that in a few days our exports are cleared and our business won’t suffer,” said Shah.

Another exporter said that he had a consignment for Gulf but as few samples had to be tested the whole shipment was grounded and the order did not reach the business partner on time.

“There is a timeline which we have to follow and accordingly we have to dispatch our orders on time. If the consignment will be grounded for weeks and months by then we lose the customers. If we had a testing lab for Shahtoosh here our shipments won’t suffer. We want a latest technology lab in Kashmir so that we won’t suffer and also no illegal export will be allowed,” said another exporter.

Speaking to Greater Kashmir, Director Handloom & Handicrafts, Mehmood Ahmad Shah said that they have requested the Union Government for setting up of Shahtoosh testing lab so that export won’t be delayed.

He said so far the shipments are seized at Delhi for checking if they are Shahtoosh free and for the same they are sent to Dehradun testing lab.

“We have a well-established Pashmina testing quality control (PTCC) lab in Kashmir but what we are lacking is only a certified lab for checking if the export is Shahtoosh free or not. We have apprised the Union Government about same and we hope that after clearance we will get a Shahtoosh testing lab here so that we can ensure Shahtoosh free export for Kashmir itself,” Shah said

He said since the ban of Shahtoosh, the government directed the customs department in collaboration with wildlife crime control bureau to ensure Shahtoosh free export of Pashmina.

Officials further informed that they have sent a proposal to the union government and if it is cleared, the Kashmir Handicraft department, Wildlife department and SKUAST Kashmir will collaborate to set up a designated Shahtoosh testing lab in Kashmir.

In 1975, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) banned all trade in Shahtoosh. Trade in Shahtoosh was banned nationally in the early 1990s.

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