J&K Govt keen to make Kashmir willow bat a world class product

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Aug 9: For promotion of cricket bat industry of Kashmir as world class product, the Directorate of Industries and Commerce has taken up the issue of granting Logo and GI tagging to Kashmir willow cricket bats with the Director, Craft Development Institute (CDI), Srinagar.
In order to revive Kashmir’s cricket bat manufacturing and other wood-based industry, a team of Union Ministry of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises officials had also visited valley to find ways for extending support.
In this direction Common Facility Centre, Sethar was established at an estimated cost of Rs 4.61 crore with plant and machinery installed by PPDC, Meerut incurring an expenditure of Rs 2.46 crore. The objective of this CFC is to facilitate seasoning of willow clefts and provide all facilities to the Cricket Bat Unit holders under one roof. This will enable the unit holders to use modern techniques in production of world class cricket bats.
There are 7 villages – Bijbehara, Charsoo, Hallamullaha, Sangam, Pujteng, Mirzapor and Sethar – in South Kashmir where cricket bats are manufactured, providing bread and butter to hundreds of villagers. Moreover Sethar Sangam in Anantnag has been notified as an industrial cluster for cricket bat manufacturing.
Govt has also given registration certificates to bat manufacturing unit owners of Anantnag and Pulwama, which would enable them to avail all benefits from the government, aimed at strengthening the industry.
A team of officials from Meerut-based Process-cum-Product Development Centre (PPDC) had visited the valley to explore ways for hand-holding of MSMEs in wood-based industry’. The team visited cricket bat cluster in Sethar village at Sangam area of Anantnag district to assess how the bat industry there could be revived. This cluster has been earlier funded by the Union MSME Ministry and now they are keen to provide an impetus to the cluster.
Pertinent to mention here that Kashmir willows are famous for their quality across the world and have gained huge attention from the cricketers. There are more than 400 cricket bat manufacturing units generating employment to about 8000 people directly.
Under the World Bank-funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP), SKUAST Kashmir has been engaged for the identification and propagation of the best quality willow (Salix Alba varcaerulea) being used for the manufacture of cricket bat. In SKUAST Kashmir, superior quality willow saplings were also distributed for the manufacture of cricket bats among the beneficiaries associated with Sethar cricket bat cluster.
With the use of superior willow, the quality of cricket bats being manufactured in the Valley would be comparable to those manufactured in the rest of the World thereby increasing their demand exponentially.