Pencil factory in Pulwama
Pencil factory in Ookhu village of southern Kashmir's Pulwama district

SRINAGAR — In the Ookhu village of southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district lies a pencil factory, which is leading the pencil industry and supplies 80 to 90 per cent of its raw materials across the country, has set a great example of women empowerment.

Speaking with the news agency KNO, the factory owner, Haji Abdul Aziz Allai, a man in his 70s, said the pencil factory has been mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme who highlighted their contribution.

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“Established in 2012 in Ookhu, we have been consistently supplying 80% to 90% of raw materials for pencil production nationwide,” Allai said, adding that they have another factory adjacent to the current one, providing employment to over 150 people.

“We have a diverse workforce comprising both male and female staff, locals and non-locals. Our male staff works from 8:30 am to 8 pm, while female staff members work from 9 am to 5 pm,” he said. “We offer pick and drop services for our female employees.”

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Speaking about women empowerment, Alai said that around 60 to 70 females are employed in the factory, earning a livelihood. “Many of these women lacked employment opportunities previously, but here, we provide them with a means of earning,” he said.

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