Varanasi: The COVID-19 (coronavirus) scare has given a big blow to the carpet industry of the country, as the India Carpet Expo, one of the largest Handmade Carpet Fair in Asia scheduled to be held at Okhla, New Delhi from March 28 to 31, has been postponed.
Bhadohi in the neighbourhood of Varanasi is home to the largest hand-knotted carpet weaving industry hub in South Asia. It is world-famous for the production and export of carpets with distinctive and outstanding designs. There are approximately 63,000 artisans in the district who are associated with this work. The total number of looms in the district is more than one lakh and over 500 export units are established in Bhadohi producing handmade carpets, which are very popular in luxury markets internationally.
The carpet expo is organised by the Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) twice in a year -at New Delhi in March and Varanasi in October, The fair is sponsored by Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Textiles. The exhibitors display their exclusive Handmade Carpets mainly from Bhadohi, Varanasi, Panipat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jaipur area.
The CEPC chairman Siddha Nath Singh said, “Over 200 foreign buyers had got registered for their participation in the expo, but many of them cancelled their trip due to Coronavirus scare”. It was decided to postpone the expo in view of the less participation of buyers until the situation returns to normal. He said that the fresh dates may be announced after April 30 if the situation improves.
The executive director Sanjay Kumar said that definitely it is a big blow to the carpet industry, as the business of around Rs 400 crore may be affected due to the postponement of the expo.
In last carpet expo held in Varanasi in October 2019, a business worth of around Rs 400 crores was negotiated with over 350 overseas buyers from around 45 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA, and Vietnam.