‘Kashmir meets 90 pc demand for pencils, timber casings’
*Light ‘diya’ to honour jawans fighting at borders
JAMMU, Oct 25: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that hard working people of Pulwama district are making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making and playing an important role in educating entire country while the Kashmir valley is meeting almost 90 percent demand for pencil slates, timber casings of entire country and, of that, a very large share comes from the South Kashmir’s district.
In his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ Radio broadcast, Modi made special mention of Pulwama district and cited working of enterprising person Manzoor Ahmad Alai, who has risen from simple workman involved in woodcutting, to a businessman whose turnover runs into crores.
Asserting that once upon a time the country used to import wood for pencils from abroad, he said now Pulwama is making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making.
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“In fact, the pencil slates of Pulwama are reducing the gaps between States. Chinar woods of the Valley have high moisture content and softness, which makes it most suitable for the manufacture of Pencils. In Pulwama, Oukhoo is known as the ‘Pencil Village’. Here, several manufacturing units of pencil slats are located, which provide employment and, in these units, a large number of women are employed,’’ the Prime Minister said.
Modi said when children all over the nation do their homework or prepare notes, somewhere behind this lies the hand work of the people of Pulwama.
“The Kashmir valley meets almost 90 percent demand for the pencils slates, timber casings of the entire country and large share of this comes from Pulwama,’’ he added.
Modi said Pulwama gained this recognition when individuals of this place decided to do something new, took risks and dedicated themselves towards it including one such enterprising person in Manzoor Ahmad Alai, who was earlier a simple workman involved in woodcutting,
“Manzoor bhai wanted to do something new so that his coming generations wouldn’t have to live in poverty. He sold his ancestral land and established a unit to manufacture apple wooden boxes. He was engaged in his small business when he came to know that Poplar wood, Chinar wood is being used in manufacturing pencils. After getting this information, Manzoor channeled his entrepreneurial spirit and started the supply of Poplar wooden boxes to some famous pencil manufacturing units,’’ the Prime Minister noted and said Manzoor found this to be extremely profitable and his income grew considerably at the same time.
With the passage of time, Modi said, Manzoor bought pencil Slate manufacturing machinery and started the supply of pencil slates to some of the biggest companies of the country and today, Manzoor’s turnover from this business is in crore and is a source of livelihood for around 200 people.
The Prime Minister commended Manzoor and enterprising brothers and sisters of Pulwama along with their families saying all of them are making invaluable contribution in educating the young minds of our country.
Asserting that India stands firmly with its brave soldiers, Modi urged people to light a ‘diya’ at their homes to honour security forces guarding the country’s borders while they celebrate festivals.
The Prime Minister also hailed the contribution of soldiers and their service to the nation.
“We must also think of our brave-heart soldiers who are firmly stationed on our borders in the line of duty, even during these festive times… all in the service and security of Mother India,” Modi said.
“We have to light a ‘diya’ (lamp) at home in honour of these brave sons and daughters of Mother India. I would also like to assure our brave soldiers that despite they being away at the borders, the entire country is with them, wishing well for them,” he said.
He hailed the sacrifice of those families, whose sons and daughters are at the border.
Modi’s remarks come amid a border row with China in Eastern Ladakh. Both sides held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row that began on May 5, following a violent clash in Eastern Ladakh. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff.
He also made a strong pitch for unity in the country while remembering Sardar Patel whose birth anniversary will be marked later this month on October 31.
“Unity is power, unity is strength, unity is progress, unity is empowerment, united we will scale new heights,” the Prime Minister said.
“There have also been forces which continuously try to sow the seeds of suspicion in our minds, and try to divide the country. The country too has given a befitting reply to these ill-intentions every time,” he said.
Modi exhorted people to constantly try through their creativity and love to bring out the beautiful colours of ‘Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat’ even in the smallest of tasks.
The Prime Minister said on Patel’s birth anniversary, he will attend many events to be held in and around the historic Statue of Unity in Kevadiya, Gujarat.
Modi also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whose death anniversary is on October 31.
He wished people on Dussehra and said that with various festivals coming up, they need to show patience and follow health guidelines in celebrating these auspicious occasions during the COVID times.
“Today, all of you are carrying on with immense patience, celebrating the festival with restraint… and hence, in our ongoing fight, our victory too is assured,” Modi said.
He asked people to keep the ‘vocal for local’ resolve in their mind and give priority to local products while shopping for festivals.
The world is taking note of India’s products, he said, citing the example of rising popularity of Khadi.
Modi talked about Khadi being popularized in Mexico’s Oaxaca by a person named Mark Brown, who has made it a brand there.
Highlighting the growing popularity of Khadi, he said Khadi masks had become popular during COVID-19 times and that on Gandhi Jayanti, the Khadi store in Connaught Place at New Delhi had witnessed purchases of over Rs one crore in just a day.
‘Kashmir meets 90 pc demand for pencils, timber casings’