This is how India wrote its autonomy thanks to the contributions of this small village

Oukhoo, a small village in Pulwama district, has been writing its growth story for years by providing pencils for millions of people across the country and the world to write on.

Popularly known as the ‘pencil village of India’, this humble village provided 90% of the raw materials needed for the country’s pencil manufacturing units. They also export a decent amount of it to around 150 countries abroad, under the stranglehold of the government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Considered the village that made industry self-sufficient in India, the manufacturing units of Oukhoo have won national acclaim from the Prime Minister himself.

Write an autonomous future

Before the potential of such units was recognized in Pulwama, the country imported timber supplies from China and other countries. It was not until 2010 that local entrepreneurs got together and decided to use the rich resources they have in the country.

The famous poplars that grow in the soil of Kashmir were used for this idea. With the ideal moisture content and climatic conditions in Kashmir, poplar wood remains particularly soft throughout its growing period. This nature of its wood makes it the ideal raw material for the manufacture of pencils.

Recognizing the immense potential that lies on their land, many people have started to establish units and learn skills in making wooden slats.

Among those who set up the slat manufacturing units is Manzoor Ahmad Alai, 45. With the help of one of India’s leading pencil manufacturers and exporters, Hindustan Pencils, he established his unit in Oukhoo in 2011. Today, Alai owns one of the largest factories in making pencil slats in Oukhoo.

Addressing him, a report of India Grandstand mentions the many difficulties that the industry has had to go through. During the pandemic phase, when everyone shifted to online courses, the industry experienced a drastic downturn. Hope was then restored to the industry after the government announced the resumption of offline classes.

“Schools, colleges have reopened. We are now racing supply and demand from big brands across the country,” Alai shone as normality returned to the Valley and other parts of the country.

Industrial development has become the backbone of many units across the village of Pencil

The village came to light after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about their story on his monthly radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

Talking about the contributions of Pencil village, he said that Pulwama has played an important role in the education of the whole nation. “If students across the country are doing their homework, preparing notes, it is thanks to the hard work of the people of Pulwama,” he said.

Giving a much-needed boost to the industry, the Indian government subsequently approved the Industrial Development Program for the Jammu and Kashmir Valley. Responding to the aspirations and potentials of the population, the program aimed to attract new investments and support existing ones. This prompted the many units in Jammu and Kashmir to become self-sufficient.

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