Willow trees and allied industry

Willow trees are known next only to Chinar trees in properties of providing coolness, freshness and oxygen besides having traditionally been used for firewood purposes in kitchens in Kashmir as also for manufacturing of high quality cricket bats etc though with the advent and popularising of the LPG, such a traditional practice of using it in kitchens is no more to be seen now. This tree is extensively cultivated and grown on the sides of the paddy fields, near marshy lands and even exclusively once its commercial value in terms of making cricket bats etc got widely known and demand increased all round to an extent that more and more small units came into being manufacturing cricket bats and allied products. The fact of the matter is that both growth of these trees as well the products manufactured have seen a decline due to host of reasons for many years continuously. Mass urbanisation of villages, shrinking of the land for cultivation, replacement by tall fast growing poplar trees, drop in exports as also sports activities in schools, colleges and in private tournaments for years in a row in Kashmir having suffered due to terrorism related violence, willow industry is in a crisis. There are thousands of people directly and indirectly engaged in willow related activities and earning livelihood not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in other neighbouring states as well. The UT Government reportedly is seized of the matter concerning the problems of the willow industry and must, therefore, take appropriate remedial measures including importantly affording a protectionist cover through a Government policy to save it from plunging into further troubles.