‘Death of Pashmina goats threatens Cashmere wool supply’

‘Global Initiative’ to protect Pashmina eco-system launched

Srinagar:  The death of Pashmina goats in large numbers in the Indian Himalayas during past some years is threatening supply of silky cashmere wool. Thousands of nomads rear these goats in the inhospitable terrain of Ladakh, a high-altitude desert known for its dramatic landscape of towering mountains and arid plains. “For past few years, a large number of goats have died of starvation in the Changthan region as the fodder remains buried under heavy snow,” said Babar Afzal, a Pashmina activist while apprising Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Shantmanu, about the situation today.  Afzal, who is working for the rights of the Pashmina community and for saving the Pashmina goat, said a global initiative to protect the Pashmina Eco-System has been launched. He said the initiative is aimed to protect the rights of Pashmina goats, shepherds, people associated with Pashmina and their families, yarn weavers , manufacturers, craftsmen and buyers. Afzal said under the initiative, the Himalayan Abstract Artist & Social Entrepreneur has been hosting art exhibitions, press conferences, conclaves, talks and personal interactions with the stakeholders in an attempt to sensitize them towards the specie and ensure that a larger community participates and celebrates this magnificent specie. Afzal informed the Div Com that the “incredible” initiative was becoming a “National Voice.” Afzal said the initiative works on three point program viz. to preserve the Pashmina Goat, create awareness about the fake Pashmina and create a retail fair trade platform for Pashmina industry. He said the fake Pashmina was destroying the real Pashmina industry in Jammu and Kashmir and under the initiative “we are working to eradicate this menace.” He said the retail fair trade proposed under the initiative would represent over 3,00,000 strong community of shepherds, weavers and craftsmen linked with the Pashmina eco-system, a statement here said. The divisional commissioner Jammu appreciated the work and initiative of Afzal and assured his support to the initiative, the statement said. Babar informed the Div Com that the initiative has a full-fledged program aimed to promote Pashmina goat campaign, Pashmina fair trade expositions, Pashmina goat conclaves and Pashmina testing service for purity. “All these initiatives are being put together to ensure that the Pashmina Eco-system is enhanced,” he said, adding that it would help everyone linked with Pashmina trade. Afzal informed Shantmanu that he will hold a number of Pashmina goat conclaves under the initiative across Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. “All the stakeholders including the Department of Animal Sheep Husbandry, Industries Department, Handloom and Handicrafts Department, Tourism Department, Municipalities of J&K, Academic Institutions, Scholars, Chambers of Commerce & Industries and WWF India would be invited to participate and work towards developing the landscape and future of the Pashmina Eco-System,” he said.  “Shantmanu extended his full support to the initiative,” it said. Pertinently, Afazal had recently been in news for serving a legal notice to Kumar Mangalam Birla for stopping the airing of a misleading advertisement regarding Pashmina. On the conclusion of the meeting Afzal presented to Div Com, Jammu an emblem “Care for Pashmina Goat”.