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Pashmina wool from Ladakh to be woven into fabrics in Varanasi as new KVIC project takes off

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to begin Pashmina production soon in Varanasi

The world-famous Pashmina wool products, which are indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, will now be made in Varanasi also, according to official information provided on Tuesday.

In a path breaking initiative, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has roped in four Khadi Institutions from Varanasi and Ghazipur districts in Uttar Pradesh for processing raw Pashmina wool and weaving it further into woollen fabric. The Pashmina fabric will be woven in Varanasi, a statement issued by the ministry of small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) said. 

This is the first ever attempt to introduce the heritage craft of Pashmina weaving outside J&K and familiarize the artisans in the rest of India with this unique art.

Pashmina weaving in Varanasi will commence from January next year. 20 Khadi artisans from Sewapuri Ashram in Varanasi will be given 30-days training in Pashmina weaving for which the services of two master trainers from West Bengal have been requisitioned by these institutions.

These four Khadi Institutions of Varanasi division have started processing of raw Pashmina wool in Delhi. Nearly 200 kg of Pashmina wool processed in Delhi will be supplied to artisans at Leh in Ladakh by the first week of December. These Leh artisans will spin the wool by December-end that will be brought to Varanasi for weaving. The two artisans coming from West Bengal are highly trained in making Muslin which involves ultra-fine weaving which is very much similar to the weaving of Pashmina.

The four KVIC recognized Khadi institutions have started procurement of raw Pashmina wool from Leh-Ladakh and brought it to Delhi on 15th November for processing that is dehairing and converting it into roving. The roving will be sent back to the Khadi artisans in Leh for spinning, who have been provided with 100 new model charkhas by KVIC.

The development comes after a meeting of KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena with the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, RK Mathur, recently where LG informed that around 50 tonnes of raw pashmina is produced in Leh-Ladakh per annum out of which, after cleaning and processing, only 15 tonnes of dehaired wool is actually produced for production of Pashmina wool products. Of this a mere 500 kg is utilized in Leh-Ladakh by a few small units for manufacturing of Pashmina products.

These Khadi institutions of Varanasi have already purchased 500 KG of raw Pashmina wool from Leh recently and brought it to Delhi for processing. More jobs are expected to be created through the scheme.