Owing to the minimal support from the government, Kashmir’s famed bat industry is facing a lot of challenges lately.
Bat manufacturers of Halmulla- Chersoo area of South Kashmir said that despite getting the status of industrial area last year, nothing on ground has changed so far.
The manufacturers said that government constructed CFC Sethar in the year 2004 with an aim that it will dry willow clefts within days, so that quantity of bat manufacturing would increase, however, even after 16 years it hasn’t been made functional yet.
Owners of Khan International Sports, Dar Cricket World, New Shiraz Sports, Zahoor said that the industry lacks infrastructure and people still use traditional ways to manufacture bats.
“Still handmade tools are prevalent here which usually take time in the production of bats. The government must take steps towards the renovation of this industry,” they said.
“Moreover,” they said, “due to 12 per cent GST by government, many manufacturers in the area have switched to some other businesses.”
Manufacturers said that during the 2014 floods, they suffered damage in lakhs, “however no one was compensated for their losses.”
“Illegal supply of willow cleft is another problem that is denting our business,” they said. “Government support is very less. Not a single workshop has been held from the Government in which manufacturers could have learned new techniques to produce quality bats,” they said.
Manufacturers said if government will help them by providing support like decrease in GST, make CFC functional, stop the illegal supply of willow clefts, and organise programs to promote Kashmiri bat, “this industry can do wonders and provide job to thousands of people.”
“The bat industry at present providing jobs to around 3,000 people but if it will get government support, this industry has the potential to provide job to over 10,000 people,” they said.