:After security situation squeezed the raw material for his father’s incense manufacturing, Ami Sharma availed a loan and converted part of his home into a cardboard printing press to keep the show going, reports R S Gull
When people assert that the security situation that erupted in 1990s impacted only militancy affected areas, they seem to be reducing the consequences. People living far away from strife-ridden belt of the state also paid a bit of the cost.
Take for instance, Kuldeep Sharma, a resident of Rehadi, in old Jammu Town. Since 1978, he inherited the family business of manufacturing Dhoop, one of the many incense items, that is part of the surging market. Incense burning remains a major part of the ritual prayers in India which is witnessing a boom, year after year.
“We were doing an impressive business and most of the manufacture was exported to other states,” Sharma said. “Most of the basic ingredients were coming from the high mountain peaks of Doda which was the key to our manufacture.”
After militancy started, the peaks became no-go areas. “People who were supplying us the herbs said they cannot access the areas and all of a sudden the raw material was missing,” Sharma said. “Then we started securing the necessary herbs from Himachal and other states but the quantum of fragrance was completely different.” Sharma said a sudden shift in the raw material led to the drop in sales and demand.
There were a number of such units operating in Jammu. Gradually all of them started closing the shutters. “I somehow managed to keep the show going but the income would not manage the affairs of the family going. It was gradually heading towards a complete halt.” And then things started changing again.