Mask making provides sustenance to unit holders amid lockdown

At a time when COVID19 pandemic has snatched livelihood of people across the globe, Department of Industries and Commerce has ensured that the artisans, workers and beneficiaries of J&K remain on the job and do not suffer during the crisis.

The J&K government has provided employment to thousands of poor people across the UT through J&K State Handloom Development Corporation Ltd and Khadi Village Industries Board (KVIB), by involving them to stitch cotton face masks which are the most important measure to protect against the virus.

In view of the surging demand for these masks for the safety of people and to provide employment to the beneficiaries, the KVIB roped in their cutting and tailoring unit holders for stitching up the masks as per laid down specifications at affordable prices.

For instance, Nasreena Begum, proprietor, Nasreen Cutting and Tailoring Centre at Thathri, Doda district was getting anxious as to how she and her family would survive during the lockdown period as her tailoring unit received no orders from locals.

But thanks to KVIB, she started receiving orders for stitching masks from district administration and other government organisations. Until today, she, along with 20 other women workers, has stitched more than 50,000 masks.

“Our business had collapsed as we couldn’t get any material due to lack of transportation during lockdown, but thanks to KVIB we have received orders for supply of masks to government and, thus, are able to run our day to day affairs.” Nasreena said, adding her unit manufactures almost 1,200 masks a day and was hopeful to get more and more orders in future.

Hundreds of kilometres away, Syed Tabasum, proprietor, Women’s Gallery, Nowgam, Srinagar had to stop manufacturing jute accessories like executive bags, carry bags, file folders, and was tirelessly working to manufacture cotton face-masks following the outbreak of the disease.

On average, she makes around 80 masks a day and her unit comprising of 15 other trained girls produce as many as 800 masks a day. Her unit has produced a staggering 1.5 lakh masks so far.

“The unit holders of Handloom Development Corporation and KVIB have been able to survive the lockdown due to mask making. They have been able to earn their bread and butter only because of this activity,” said ManojDwivedi, Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department.