Batting for the bat industry
We are one of the most backward regions of the world which is lacking industrial growth and a debt ridden and a slump industry. The reasons may be numerous but the government inaction and lack of will to promote industries in this region is the main contributor that has crippled our industrial sector.
One such industry which has been subject to all sorts of failures is the bat industry in Kashmir. The industry though a major contributor towards the economy during the past several decades is losing its sheen and those who were dependent on this trade are finding it hard to ensure survival of the crucial industry.
Though lots of measures have been announced in the past but the industry has failed to witness a revival. Now recently with an aim to review the wood industry a team of Union Ministry of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises officials held a two-day visit of the valley to find ways for extending support to this industry.
The team of officials was associated with the Meerut-based Process-cum-Product Development Centre (PPDC) which visited the valley to explore ways for hand-holding of MSMEs in wood-based industry’.
The team during their visit to cricket bat cluster in Sethar village at Sangam area have expressed desire to review the cluster that was damaged during the September 2014 deluge. This cluster has been earlier funded by the Union MSME Ministry and now it is keen to provide an impetus to the cluster.
One of the major reason for turning this cluster and the entire bat industry into a failure is the increased cost of production and no access of the unit holders to modern day technology that would have immensely helped to bring down the production costs.
One reason why the cluster lacked any modern day facility in bat manufacturing is that various agencies have been involved in manning the crucial sectors here. For example the agency responsible for supply of plant and machinery at this common facility centre (CFC) for willow cleft seasoning at Sethar in Sangam is PPDC while the agency approved for civil works execution is the public works department.
CFC Sethar needs setting up of 20 boilers, 50 seasoning chambers, testing laboratory, computer aided design centre, training section, display areas for finished products and an approach for the consumers and dealers to the area.
All this needs to be taken up on war footing as the bat industry is witnessing no manufacturing presently.
This despite the fact that Kashmir valley has abundant presence of willow trees which is considered as one of the best raw material needed to manufacture a bat of international standards.
After English willow, Kashmir willow is considered to be the second preference of international players however, Kashmir has failed to achieve any feat on this front as the industry has not matured to this level in the valley.
The bat industry can act as a game changer for the economy however, what is needed is professional planning and positioning of the product in such a way that the cricket fever across the globe attracts clients for Kashmir bat industry in good numbers.