Pithoragarh : 24 January, 2016

Pithoragarh district was traditionally known for its wholesale market of Nepalese ghee, honey and blankets. But at present, its natural economy is shattered even though successive governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand had launched several schemes to strengthen it.

BDS Negi, an expert in the traditional economic history of Uttarakhand, says traders used to store grains in the district for export to Tibet as part of the traditional border trade. They also stored ghee and honey imported from Nepal and supplied these to other parts of the Kumaon region and the country. “Pithoragarh district was a traditional hub of woollen clothes.  Shauka traders in upper valleys used to rear goats and extract wool for their household craft of woollen garments, which they sold in various fairs organised in lower valleys of the district before the arrival of the winter,” says Negi, a historian at Kumaon University. Negi has written extensivvely on the traditional economy of Malla kings of Didihat and Nepal.

The job opportunities exist not only in the traditional economy sector but also in tourism and adventure sports. The district has the best adventure tourism and sports spots at Chandak, Munsiyari, Berinag, Chaukori, Darma valley and on the Kailas Mansarovar route. “There is abundant potential of adventure tourism in the district as it has high flowing rivers such as the Saryu, Ramganga and the Kali for rafting and hilltops for paragliding,” says Dinesh Gururani, as adventure officer with KMVN. He is organising river rafting and paragliding camps in the district for the last 10 years.

Various spots of scenic beauty and hitherto virgin places in the landscape of the hill district are perfect places for film shooting. “The hilltops of Chandak, Bhatkot, Berinag and Chaukopri and several other spots are good for film shooting as we have experienced during the shooting of our two films at these locations,” says Jagjiwan Singh Kanyal, manager of Anmol Film Production Company of Mumbai, which has recently shot its second regional film titled “Gopi Bhina” here.

The district has a high potential of manufacturing carpets in the Munsiyari region as woollen carpets based on traditional designs are in high demand. “We have the potential of manufacturing not only woollen carpets and other woollen goods but also developing fruit processing industries in select locations in the district where citrus fruits are produced in large quantities,” says Chanchal Singh Bora, General Manager, District Industries Centre.

Bora says there is also a huge potential of herb production as several rare Himalayan medicinal herbs are found in the higher valleys of the district. “There is a big potential for processing of herbs for ayurvedic medicines in the district. The climate in Pithoragarh mountains is suitable for production of ayurvedic medicines,” he adds. The Tribune

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