STATE TIMES NEWS SRINAGAR: In a first, the 49th IHGF Delhi Fair, Virtual Edition, organized on Monday by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) was rolled out by the Union Minister for Textiles, Smriti Irani. Over 1500 manufacturers and exporters from all over the world are participating in the digital fair by displaying more than 2000 product expressions. A large number of exporters from Jammu and Kashmir, whose movement passes were facilitated by the Divisional Administration, attended the inaugural function at SKICC here today. Managing Director, J&K SIDCO, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Managing Director, Handloom & Handicrafts Corporation, Hashmat Yatoo, Director, Handicrafts & Handloom, Mussarat Islam, Director SKICC, Javed Bakshi, Director, IICT, Zubair Ahmad, Joint Director, Information, Kashmir, Haris Ahmad Handoo, Joint Director Handicrafts, Kashmir, Abdul Majeed Lone, Joint Director Handlooms, Kashmir, Nargis Suriya, besides other senior officers of the Department attended the function. The inaugural function began with the message of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, which was read out in the Virtual Fair auditorium, followed by the video messages of the Union Minister for Textiles, Smriti Irani and Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi. The Prime Minister, in his message, praised the EPCH for organizing the Virtual Fair in the midst of COVID pandemic which, he said was reflective of the indomitable spirit to continue furthering the efforts to strengthen the sector. The Prime Minister added that the Indian handicrafts have been celebrated all over the world for their artistic innovation and creative richness, which have carved out a niche in the international market. While declaring the fair open, the Union Textiles Minister welcomed the participant exporters and hoped that the business-to-business platform offered by EPCH digitally will be a win-win situation for the entire handicraft sector. Later, the Jammu & Kashmir Craft Pavilion was inaugurated wherein exotic product exhibits and e-portfolios of exporters were on display. The JK Pavilion highlighted wide range of hand-knotted silk carpets, Kani and Sozni embroidered Pashmina shawls, Jamavars, crewel embroidered curtain cloth, chain stitch wall hangings, Namda felted embroidered rugs, Basohli paintings, tweed coats, walnut wood carving, Khatamband, papier machie and engraved copperware. The Virtual Fair is being organized by EPCH to create online B2B linkages to connect buyers and sellers virtually from their homes in the times of Covid 19 pandemic. The J&K Handicrafts and Handloom Department has made special arrangements for sponsoring the exporters from Jammu and Kashmir in the digital fair. SKICC also provided seamless internet connectivity that facilitated hassle-free virtual room experience to the participants from J&K.
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