SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 10, 2020:- In order to provide direct marketing support to maximum number of artisans and weavers of Jammu and Kashmir who have been distressed due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Handicrafts & Handloom Department, Kashmir, is organizing a Craft Mela from October 13 at Numaish Gah (Kashmir Haat), Srinagar, on rotational basis.

The Department has urged civil society members, youth and working class to visit Numaish Gah (Kashmir Haat) in large numbers and buy local genuine handloom and handicraft products during the Mela to get value for their money besides providing succour to our weavers and artisans and ensure business continuity. The entry for general masses during the period of Mela has been made free.

This shall be the first physical fair after Government announced measures to further unlock businesses and other economic activities. During the period of Craft Mela, the department shall ensure that social distancing norms are adhered to in letter and spirit.

The Covid-19 pandemic this year has dealt a severe blow to the export of famed handicraft and handloom products from Kashmir to other parts of the country and abroad this year in view of the restrictions imposed to curb the virus. To overcome the business losses and revive the sector, the Handicrafts & Handloom Department has intensified the ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign launched by the Government to reach out to the artisans and weavers by connecting them with potential buyers. The Department has also launched a sustained media campaign to motivate different sections of the society in supplementing the efforts of the Government in increasing sales and improved profits for artisans and weavers.

The Craft Mela shall be a continuous affair at Kashmir Haat with around 50 stalls reserved for artisans and weavers for a period of 15 days on rotational basis. They have been advised to approach the concerned Assistant Director in their respective districts for booking of stalls on first-cum-first serve basis. In view of business losses suffered by the artisans and weavers due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Department has proposed waiving of stall rentals at Kashmir Haat during the period of exhibition.

Besides the artisans and weavers from Jammu Division, the Department has also invited J&K Handloom & Handicrafts Development Corporation, J&K Agro Industries and Indian Institute of Carpet Technology to display and sell their products. The products made by trainees at various training centres of the Department, including carpets made under the Massive Carpet Scheme, shall also be available for sale during the exhibition.

Referring to the measures being taken by the Government to support the craft sector, Director Handicrafts & Handloom, Kashmir urged the general public to visit Numaish Gah and support the Government’s ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign by buying products like Pashmina & Kani Shawls, Silk Carpets, Papier Machie, Copperware, Sozni embroidery, Chain Stitch & Crewel, Aari and Stapple, Felted Numdhas and Pherans with Zari. He added the Department is making concerted efforts to bridge the gap between local artisans and weavers, technology and marketplaces by also using platforms like Virtual Fairs to counter the negative impact of the corona-virus pandemic. He added that the response from the participation of craft entrepreneurs and exporters in Virtual Fairs has been very encouraging as a large number of business queries from buyers from all parts of the world have been received.

The Director exuded confidence that the sector will be able to reach out to a larger customer base in virtual mode to tap new markets beyond their known destinations. He also urged the artisans and weavers to come forward and form Cooperatives/ Self Help Groups to avail the financial support announced by the Government to promote their businesses.