Srinagar, August 09:
J&K Government is keen towards the promotion of cricket bat industry of Kashmir enabling the Kashmir willow cricket bat to become a world-class product.
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 had also visited the valley to find ways for extending support.
In this direction Common Facility Centre, Sethar was established at an estimated cost of Rs 4.61 crore with plant and machinery installed by PPDC, Meerut incurring an expenditure of Rs 2.46 crore.
The objective of this CFC is to facilitate seasoning of willow clefts and provide all facilities to the Cricket Bat Unit holders under one roof. This will enable the unit holders to use modern techniques in production of world class cricket bats.
There are 7 villages – Bijbehara, Charsoo, Hallamullaha, Sangam, Pujteng, Mirzapor and Sethar – in South Kashmir where cricket bats are manufactured, providing bread and butter to hundreds of villagers. Moreover Sethar Sangam in Anantnag has been notified as an industrial cluster for cricket bat manufacturing.
Meanwhile, Govt has also given registration certificates to bat manufacturing unit owners of Anantnag and Pulwama, which would enable them to avail all benefits from the government, aimed at strengthening the industry.
A team of officials from Meerut-based Process-cum-Product Development Centre (PPDC) also 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 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.
Pertinent to mention here that Kashmir willows are famous for their quality across the world and have gained huge attention from the cricketers. A study on sports goods titled ‘Indian Sports Goods Industry: Strategies for Tapping the Export Potential' conducted by the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM BANK) says that Kashmir willow bat is one such product, which holds significance as it is made from some of the best quality wood (willow) in the world.