Rehan Qayoom Mir
Srinagar, Jan 24: The World Bank funding has played a crucial role in the revival of Kashmir’s eight-decades-old silk factory, as the introduction of new technology and high-tech looms funded by the bank has increased eightfold in the past years, an official said.
The silk fabric production at Srinagar’s government-run 86-year-old Rajbagh Silk has increased by almost three times, with the involvement of better machines and equipment, Syed Zameer, the manager of Silk Factory, said.
The Rajbagh silk factory was established in the year 1937, and at that time, we had different machines and looms available here, he said.
Zameer said after the 2014 flood, the machines and equipment here became non-functional. Under the Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP), financed by the World Bank, efforts were made not only to restore heritage buildings but also to support the livelihoods of those affected, including the revitalization of the silk industry, he said.
The project, the manager said, aimed to maintain the livelihood of people affected by the floods and also restore Jammu and Kashmir’s heritage buildings. The funding also helped us to increase our production, and presently we can manufacture more products than in the past, he said.
“We can manufacture 1.5 lakh metres of silk in a single shift and 4.5 lakh metres if we work in three shifts,” he said, adding that before the JTFRP project, they had only seven to eight varieties of silk available, but currently, the factory manufactures thirty varieties of silk. “We have also increased and enhanced the quality by almost three times,” he added.
The manager said the sales have increased by about five times, and now, they have tie-ups with many parties from outside Jammu & Kashmir who are purchasing the silk-made products.
The equipment including TFOs, winding machines, TLC-based looms and warping machines helped us further increase our production, he added.
The modernization and the upgradation of the Government Silk Weaving factory, Rajbagh, was done in the year 2021 and was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.