Kashmir's cricket bat units need official turf to grow as industry: Advisor Ganai

SRINAGAR: Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai on Thursday said that Kashmir's cricket bat units were proving to be sustainable entrepreneurial ventures-providing employment opportunities to thousands of youth.

Speaking to the delegation of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association led by Abdul Rashid Dar from south Kashmir, Ganai said that one of the oldest bat sectors needs government patronage to grow as viable entrepreneurial venture across the State. He said that the bat sector has a potential to grow manifold in coming days provided that the concerted efforts were put to revive the sector.

Interacting with the Advisor during day-long Governor's Public Grievance camp here at Church Lane, the cricket bat manufacturers apprised him about many issues of their trade. They appealed the Advisor that government must come up with a foolproof strategy to revive and strengthen the bat manufacturing sector.

The delegation further informed the Advisor that the success of Indian Premier League (IPL)-where the franchise owners splash millions of dollars to acquire their favourite players was proving to have a positive effect on the cricket bat manufacturing in Kashmir as well. They said that they were getting orders for many consignments from several corporates from across the country.

Pertinently, the cricket bat sector in Kashmir Valley has more than 400 units, some 30 to 40 in Jammu region; including registered and unregistered, with a collective turnover of over Rs 10 crore annually.

The delegation informed the Advisor that the IPL has been a huge bonanza for this sector as the number of bats sold since the inception of the league has gone up.

The delegation said that they were expecting more orders from the stakeholders from the concerned cities. However they urged the Advisor that hassles in free trade should be cleared. They said some of the truckloads with finished bats and bats with stickers were stranded at Lakhanpur, Jammu for official clearance and efforts should be taken to clear them at the earliest.

They urged the Advisor to document the main constraints that confront the cricket bat industry in order to devise future strategies and research needs that can help to exploit the full economic potential of this indigenous wood-based industry.

The stakeholders urged Advisor Ganai that a common facility centre was highly needed in the area-which would give a flip to the units located along Srinagar- Jammu highway.

They demanded that the government should come out with a definite policy on bat sector of Kashmir-which would save the sector and Kashmir willow.

Advisor Ganai said that government was taking every possible step to make these units as a viable sector for the thousands of youth-thereby providing entrepreneurial venture as a viable livelihood activity. He suggested that the manufacturing of cricket bats was a lucrative venture in Kashmir which could be up-scaled.

He urged the manufacturers to plant more and more willows in their areas-which would give them ample raw material.

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