INDIA: Global crisis gnaws at vibrant carpet industry
As much as the textile and garment sector is facing a crisis, unfolded due to the economic meltdown, the Kashmiri carpet industry which has survived through the worst periods in the last two decades is facing the kind of challenges never witnessed before.
The famous carpets woven across 30,000 handlooms in the state and which had a ready made clientele across the globe, is now in a state of disarray, brought about by the Tsunami like economic crisis which has engulfed worldwide economies.
Experts warn of troubled times for the sector in the current year and expect overseas exports of carpets to fall by as much as 70 percent in the current financial year from the US $135 million achieved in the last fiscal.
Carpet weaving is a tradition which goes back by more than 700 years and the tradition of weaving has been passed on to each successive generation. But looking at the current and expected future situation, this tradition might break.
Weavers may have to look for alternative sources of employment and livelihood and as happened with the handicrafts and handloom sector in other parts of the country, the numbers of carpet weavers and artisans may diminish with time.
Added: March 10, 2009 Source: Agencies