SRINAGAR: Asia’s largest bat industry in Jammu and Kashmir is facing several challenges for its survival and is on the verge of collapse.
Jawbara, Awantipora to Donipora, Sangam area was declared an industrial zone in July 2019 but since then two years have passed and nothing has changed on ground, Bat Manufacturers Association members told. They said that Common Facilitation Centre (CFC) Sethar in Anantnag district was constructed in year 2004 with an aim that it will dry willow clefts within days which usually takes months, thereby saving time of manufacturers so that more quantity of bats gets produced, however, even after 16 years CFC hasn’t made functional yet.
“Illegal supply of willow cleft continues needs to be checked besides that there will be storage of willows in coming years as nobody prefers to grow willows now and willows are on the verge of extinction,” said a member of BMA.
He said that electricity crisis is one of the main issue of “our industry as there are around 300 units in the area and at least a unit holder has to spend around 200 litres of Diesel per month to run the units but if there would have 24×7 power supply to the area, crores of rupees of unit holders can be saved.
“If government will help us by providing support like decreasing GST, making CFC functional, stopping illegal supply of willow clefts, organising programmes to promote Kashmiri bat, this industry can do wonders and provide jobs to thousands of people,” the BMA members said. “This industry is at present providing jobs to around 3,000 people but if it will get government support, this industry can provide jobs to over 10,000 people.”
Moreover, people often here get injured here but there is no hospital in the area besides that there is no bank in the area, they said—(KNO)