Chinese carpets flood markets, Tibetan workers hit
By K Shiva Kumar - MYSORE
03rd December 2012 09:22 AM
The Chinese goods flooding Indian and global markets over the years have not spared the traditional Tibetan looms. Tibetan handmade carpets that are in high demand in Europe, India and around the world have been the worst-hit with the advent of cheap Chinese machine-made carpets.
This has cast a shadow on Tibetan looms and forced them to wind up the carpet and handloom industries in India and Nepal.
The Tibetan government-in-exile had established the Tibetan Dickey Larsoe Handicrafts in Bylakuppe and other settlements in the early 1960s to generate employment.
It also catered to the tourists. “This year, the Tibetan Dickey Larsoe Handicrafts and Incense Centre recorded only `16 lakh worth business as the orders have been reduced thanks to Chinese goods,” said centre manager Tenzin Lodoe.
The dominance of Chinese carpets has forced the centre to set a target of Rs 20 lakh for the current financial year. Business was less than Rs16 lakh in 2010.
The hand-made carpets that sold for Rs 1,100 per sq metre in 2002 now goes for Rs 5,699.
“Though the value of rupee has increased the volume of the business, production has not increased,” said Lodoe.
He observed that those with export licence have also suffered with less orders as the Chinese goods are priced much cheaper.
Local Indian women in Periyapatna and Hunsur were trained in carpet weaving. Wool from New Zealand is imported and blended with Indian wool.
Bhuti, a Tibetan woman, said she earned more than Rs 200 a day by weaving Tibetan carpets with the New Zealand wool from Panipat. She said they want to make these carpets to keep the tradition alive and pass it on to the next generation.
Yashoda and Kavitha from a nearby village who have been working in the Tibetan handlooms for the past 15 years, have mastered the art. Yashoda said that they earn more than Rs 7,000 a month.
But the production in winter has suffered as many of them have left the settlement for business across the country.
Now, with the establishment of Chinese units with multi-crore machinery, these handicraft centres are being shut down, forcing the Tibetans to produce incense sticks in the handicraft units.
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