JK Bank Chairman lays Foundation stone for Common Facility Centre in Okey under CSR

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Srinagar : Chairman and CEO, J&K Bank, Parvez Ahmed today undertook an extensive visit of Kulgam District alongwith Bank’s Executive Presidents, P K Tickoo and R K Chhibber, Presidents Mohammad Maqbool Lone and Ashraf Ali Malik, Vice Presidents Sushil Kumar and M A Wanchoo, and other senior officers of the bank to inaugurate various Business facilities apart from launching multiple initiatives under its CSR program.
As a major initiative aimed at the revival and development of willow wicking and pottery crafts in the state, Chairman laid the foundation stone of Saqafat Tahafuz Markaz or Common Facility Centre (CFC) at Okey (pronounced ‘Voki’) village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district under the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.
Prior to the inaugural function Chairman Parvez Ahmed along with his senior management team paid obeisance at shrine of Syed Ahmad Sahib Sarhandi (R.A), Syed Mohammad Sahib Sarhandi (R.A) and Syed Hussain Sahib Sarhandi (R.A) in the vicinity of the upcoming Centre. The function started with the recital of Qur’an and naa’t by students of Sheikh ul Alam Institute.
Chairman laid the foundation stone in presence of the Bank’s executives besides many notables from the area.
The project is a part of the chairman’s vision of adopting villages in the district associated with the production of Kangri (earthen fire pot) – which has become the Kashmir’s cultural symbol – and upliftment of related artisans by dispensing micro-credit for their socio-economic development in addition to the preservation of socio-cultural heritage of the state.
The project is a part of the Bank’s vision of heritage preservation by increasing the livelihood opportunities and the earnings of the craftspeople so as to encourage millennials to adopt these crafts as attractive means of employment. Bank, sensing urgency of the issue at hand with respect to the survival of the crafts and sustenance of the artisans associated with it, adopted a cluster of villages around Okey which is known for production of Kangri (fire pots) and earthen utensils with the purpose of promotion and development of the willow wicking and pottery crafts and the economic upliftment of the artisans associated with it.
The chairman expressed his elation at the resounding welcome extended by the people of the area who showered salutations and hailed him on his arrival at the place.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman said, “The Common Facility Centre will become an asset for the people and bring prosperity to Okey and other connected villages besides helping preserve our socio-cultural heritage. The centre will promote talent and help produce world class products.”
“It will provide an organised supply chain that will cater to the various stages of the manufacturing process and will aim to create general awareness, provide skill development and capacity building besides facilitating exposure visits to outside state and create market linkages like Dastkar Bazaar,” he added.
The establishment of the centre will breathe a new life into the dwindling art of Kangri weaving and pottery and provide a one point centre for procurement and processing of raw material using modern tools and techniques, skill development of the artisans and sale of the finished product.
Calling the activity as being synonymous with the bank’s corporate motto ‘Serving to Empower’, the chairman asserted that empowering people at the grass root level ensures that the weaker sections of society get an opportunity to avail banking services and become beneficiaries of the inclusive economy.
Notably, the centre came up only after the bank got an in-depth survey of the industry done through an independent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), that provided insights into the nature of interventions required on part of the state’s premier financial institution to revive the art and industry of willow wicking and pottery and develop it on modern and sustainable lines ensuring the overall development of the stakeholders.
Earlier Executive President P K Tickoo said that as Kashmiris we have grown up alongside kangri which continues to be an integral part of our culture, which must be preserved and produced for our posterity. Adding that the artisans should not restrict their craft to the production of kangri but upgrade it and manufacture other products at the centre as well.
Executive President R K Chhibber thanked the people for their warmth said, “The centre will be a landmark for the area, whose inhabitants have showered unprecedented love and respect for our Chairman. It is almost a festival here today. People of the area should make use of this opportunity and change their fortunes for good.”
Present on the occasion, prominent citizens Abdul Rehman Mir and Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat hailed the Chairman for the landmark initiative which would transform the lives of the souls living in the village.
In his welcome address, Zonal Head M A Wanchoo thanked Chairman for adopting the village Okey. He said, “The centre will go a long way in uplifting the people and transforming the socio-economic profile of the area.”
The bank’s AVP Muzzafar Wani, also spoke on the occasion about the centre.
“The raw material will be made available for the centre that will house facilities for baking, dying, boiling and drying. Training centre will also be part of the centre for capacity building, skill development, design intervention and product diversification besides a business unit that will provide all the necessary financial and other banking services for the inmates”, he said while explaining the outlines of the ambitious project.

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