NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that Kashmir’s Pulwama plays an important role in educating the country as the region fulfils a large share of India’s pencil needs.
In 70th edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ today, he said that Pulwama is making the country self-reliant in the field of pencil making.
“Today, Pulwama in Kashmir is playing an important role in educating the entire country. Today, when children all over the nation do their homework, or prepare notes, somewhere behind this lies the hard work of the people of Pulwama. The Kashmir Valley meets almost 90 per cent demand for pencil slats, timber casings of the entire country, and of that, a large share comes from Pulwama,” he said.
“Once upon a time, we used to import wood for pencils from abroad, but, now our Pulwama is making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making. In fact, the pencil slats of Pulwama are reducing the gaps between states! Chinar wood of the valley has high moisture content and softness, which makes it most suitable for the manufacture of pencils,” he added.
Modi said: “In Pulwama, Oukhoo is known as the Pencil Village. Here, several manufacturing units of pencil slats are located, which provide employment, and, in these units, a large number of women are employed.”
The Prime Minister also lauded a local entrepreneur Manzoor for invaluable contribution in educating the young minds of our country.
“Pulwama gained this recognition when individuals of this place decided to do something new, took risks and dedicated themselves towards it. One such enterprising person is Manzoor Ahmad Alai. Earlier, Manzoor bhai was a simple workman involved in woodcutting. Manzoor bhai wanted to do something new so that his coming generations wouldn’t have to live in poverty. He sold his ancestral land and established a unit to manufacture Apple wooden boxes,” Modi said.
“He was engaged in his small business when he came to know that Poplar wood, Chinar wood is being used in manufacturing pencils. After getting this information, Manzoor bhai channeled his entrepreneurial spirit and started the supply of Poplar wooden boxes to some famous pencil manufacturing units.
Manzoor Ji found this to be extremely profitable and his income grew considerably at the same time. With the passage of time, he bought pencil slat manufacturing machinery and started the supply of pencil slats to some of the biggest companies of the country,” he said.
The Prime Minister underlined that Manzoor’s turnover from the business is in crores and is a source of livelihood for around two hundred people.
Pencil slats are the wooden component used by pencil manufacturers to make pencils. Making wooden slats is one of the early stages in the manufacture of pencils. (ANI)