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HomeBusinessDown but not out of the market: Rakesh Kumar, Jai Durga Printers/Jai Maa Printers, Katra, Jammu

Down but not out of the market: Rakesh Kumar, Jai Durga Printers/Jai Maa Printers, Katra, Jammu

01 October 2020: I started my printing unit in 2004. At Jai Durga Printers and Jai Maa Printers, we cater to the printing needs of the local general businesses, tourism and hospitality business in Katra. As visits to the holy shrine were stopped due to COVID-19, at present only 100-150 tourists are allowed to visit and no hotel stay is allowed in the town.

Our two printing presses, Jai Durga Printers (20 x 12 ft x 2 floors) and Jai Maa Printers (15 x 20 ft x 2 floors), undertake all types of commercial printing, such as wedding cards, digital printing, flex printing, and packaging (sweet boxes). We have offset, screen, flex printing and Konica Minolta digital press. During the lockdown I went to the village to help my father in farming, about 10 km from Katra until the lockdown was lifted in June.

There were challenges and difficulties which are not limited only to me. We suffered a heavy loss of materials. The paper stock started getting spoilt. Printed stock, pending delivery, got spoilt. Most of the customers are not sure to return or open, hence their jobs already printed before lockdown have now become waste. I have stocks of printed visiting cards, stationery, bill books, etc., all to be sold to paper merchant as raddi (waste). I have already sold 2,000 kg of paper and printed items this way and another 1,800 kg is gathered to be sold. We had a stock of 30,000-40,000 bill books, visiting cards, etc. Even if our customers/ shops come back there is no guarantee that they will accept the printed materials which have already been covered with dust and become spoilt.

Currently, we are now open and work for 3-4 hours. Since the ‘unlocking’ phase that marked the opening of lockdown, we could get only 50 jobs. Even the wedding market is almost flat. Instead of 250 cards, we get order for 25-50 cards. As far as materials are concerned, we source them from Jammu and Delhi. Being in a remote place, we usually keep one month stock of inks and materials. There is no problem to get raw materials, the problem is getting orders. Due to the lockdown, printing businesses are completely down yet under the grace of God, I am not out of business owing to my sheer determining to survive.

Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi, as it is popularly known, is a small town in Reasi district in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi is located, Katra is located 42 km from the city of Jammu.

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