The traditional wool-based industry in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is being given a major overhaul under the ongoing World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) —a move associated with wool production as well as the employees working at the heritage government Bemina Woolen Mill.
Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Chief Executive Officer of the project said that the J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) under the component of restoration and strengthening of livelihoods of the World Bank funded JTFRP is taking concrete steps for the restoration/strengthening of livelihoods under the traditional cottage-based industry. “This step a major revamp underway for the restoration of government Woollen Mills at Bemina,” he said.
He further explained that the objective of the sub-project JKERA is to strengthen the infrastructure of the heritage mill and provide the machinery with latest equipment so that the production of wool products is maximised to full potential.
Besides, the local wool producers also get a good demand for their produce locally, Shah said.
Shah said that the work under the component of strengthening and restoration of livelihood as well as other components of JTFRP are going on smoothly, adding that with the completion of such projects, the concerned sectors would get hugely benefited.
“We are trying to work on the various components across Jammu and Kashmir at the same time. We hope our interventions bring about a positive impact in the lives of beneficiaries,” he said.
Shah said for the heritage Bemina woolen mills, the project is being executed by the Department of Industries and Commerce as the project implementation unit. The sub-project involves the construction of a showroom and for Wool products manufactured at the government Woollen Mills, Bemina will be showcased which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 2 crores.
It also includes the restoration and repair works of the Government Woolen Mill at Bemina which had suffered immense damage during the floods of 2014.
Sajid Nazir, Nodal Officer, Industries and Commerce, J&K, said that under the component various latest equipment’s have been being procured, including eight hi-tech looms in order to strengthen the infrastructure at Government Woolen Mills in Bemina.
Besides this, the component aims to carry out the procurement of Rapier looms, boilers, dyeing and related types of equipment etc for which contract has been awarded.
“Overall, the sub-project involves the civil work component under which new showrooms cum interpretation centre came up. The Showroom would be completed soon and this will surely help our products to get the better market,” Nazir said.
Nazir said that with the commissioning of several of these sub-projects, the demand for the raw wool produced locally would be in great demand and the Government Bemina Woollen Mill would not only benefit the department but also around 3000 families associated with the wool production and its processing.
Another official, Khurshid Ahmad at Bemina Woolen Mills said that “2014 floods washed away everything at the Mill and most of the expensive machines and looms got washed away.”
He said that the upgradation works of the government Woollen Mill at Bemina will help them to increase the production from next fiscal.
“We have nearly hundreds of workers and the unit has suffered immensely and once we achieve the target, we should be able to have a bit of profit as well,” he said.
Pertinently, the government-run Bemina Woolen Mill is marketing certain finished products and is trying to compete with larger manufactures like Raymonds and Vimal beside the J&K Handicrafts development corporation which is the major tweed manufacturer in J&K.