As the much anticipated G20 Summit in Srinagar is less than 72 hours away, expectations among locals have reached a feverish pitch.
Local journalist Javed Shah wrote that almost every part of Kashmir valley has been experiencing a festive mood ahead of the grand gala event as it has brought hope and positive change after three decades of turmoil and violence.
Apart from tourism, handicrafts is another sector which will be taken up in the crucial deliberations among nineteen major countries and the European Union.
Handicrafts have been the backbone of the Kashmir economy since immemorial times. But the sector has been on the receiving end due to some wrong reasons.
The world-famous Kashmiri shawls, carpets, paper machines, wood carving and so on were world beaters and others stood distant second always.
The locals have alleged that the previous erstwhile state governments did little or nothing to hold on to the status Kashmir enjoyed for centuries.
“Handicrafts sector before 2019 was one of the most neglected sectors of Kashmir, but after 2019 the governments in the centre paid attention to the sector and now the Kashmir handicraft sector is witnessing an improvement,” said Aijaz Ahmad, who associated with handicraft business from last three decades.
He added, “G20 meeting will have a positive impact on our livelihoods. After the summit, our exports will increase further and this could pave the way for more nations to start importing our handicrafts produce. We hope things will change for us and that the G20 meeting will have a further positive impact on our livelihoods”.
G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
It represents 85 per cent of the global GDP, 75 per cent of international trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.
People associated with the sector (Handicrafts) believe that the G20 meeting will be a game-changer for the handicraft sector.
“Kashmiri handicraft is popular among Europeans. In the last few years, there has been a considerable improvement in the business of carpets and other household products, which has resulted in good export figures. The summit could pave the way for more countries to begin importing our handicrafts,” said Ashiq Ahmad, another local artist.
After August 5, 2019, the LG administration under the astute guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi started working towards the revival of the sagging Kashmir handicrafts sector. Under this, the famous Kashmiri saffron was taken up as the priority and was given a GI tag which immediately showed positive results.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday also said that the G20 meeting will give a new height to Jammu and Kashmir’s growth.
Sinha interacted with the members of civil society groups, members of PRIs, and representatives of various organizations and discussed the upcoming G20 meeting at Srinagar.
“G20 meeting is a historic opportunity for J-K UT to showcase its vibrant culture, traditions and tourism potential. It belongs to all the citizens and they should come forward and be a part of this historic event,” said the Lt Governor.
He also urged the civil society members to take advantage of this opportunity and encourage citizens, tourism and industry stakeholders to contribute to its grand success.
The Lt Governor expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing a powerful platform of the G20 meeting for connecting local and global aspirations.
“G20 meeting will give a new height to J-K’s growth, boost to the limitless potential of the tourism and hospitality sector and enhance economic prosperity to all sections of society. It is also an opportunity for the handicraft sector to script a bright future,” the Lt Governor said.
Addressing the members of civil society groups, the Lt Governor also talked about J-K’s journey on the path of accelerated development and the remarkable progress registered in various sectors since 2019.
“Never before had infrastructure development taken place at the kind of speed witnessed in the past four years. We are marching forward with the common vision of peace, progress and prosperity. Let us all re-dedicate ourselves to make this event a memorable one with the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” he added.
Notably, this is the first time in 70 years that Kashmir is getting the honour of hosting such a G20 summit. The summit is going to be held at SKICC, located on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in Srinagar.
This report is filed by ANI news service.