Centre exploring ways for revival of Kashmir's bat industry

In order to revive Kashmir’s cricket bat manufacturing and other wood-based industry, a team of Union Ministry of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises officials held a two-day visit of the valley recently to find ways for extending support.

A senior officer of Industries and Commerce Department told Greater Kashmir that team of officials from Meerut-based Process-cum-Product Development Centre (PPDC) visited the valley to explore ways for hand-holding of MSMEs in wood-based industry’.

“The team visited cricket bat cluster in Sethar village at Sangam area of Anantnag district, which was damaged by 2014 floods to assess how the bat industry there could be revived. This cluster has been earlier funded by the Union MSME Ministry and now they are keen to provide an impetus to the cluster,” said the official.

As per the official, agency responsible for supply of plant and machinery at this common facility centre (CFC) for willow cleft seasoning at Sethar in Sangam is PPDC while agency for civil works execution is public works department.

“The approved project cost is Rs 4.61 crore in order to promote bat industry in the Valley by providing existing units with access to modern technology. The aim is to reduce production costs while improving product quality,” the official said.

He said envisaged facilities at the CFC Sethar includes setting up of 20 boilers, 50 seasoning chambers, testing laboratory, computer aided design centre, training section, display area for finished products. The facility will be coming up on 8 kanal and 14 marlas that have been acquired by the state government, the official said.

“There is no production of cricket balls and footballs happening in the Valley at present which is also a concern area for the larger revival plan of the sports goods industry. Machinery for production of balls will be brought here for the first time with the help of PPDC,” the official said.

In order to explore other ways of promoting other wood-based industry, officials of PPDC Meerut also visited several wood-work clusters in Downtown, Srinagar on Friday.

“It was agreed that there is a lot of scope of improvement for wood-based industries in the valley. We need to establish CFCs in various sectors be it handicrafts, sport goods, furniture etc. The officials deliberated that we need to work on export of bats manufactured in valley and need to establish training centres in the valley,” said the director Industries Kashmir, Mehmood Shah.

He said the visit of PPDC team has been fruitful and will help to revive wood-based industry.