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ECONOMY

 

 

About 25% of population of Sialkot is urban and 75% lives in villages and nearby towns. The economy of Sialkot is dependent upon its industry and agriculture as well. Most of the laborers come from the villages, who not only works in factories but also share in agriculture field back home.  Rice and wheat are the major crops of area and as a result there are about 15 flour mills and 60 rice husking mills. 

 

Major industries include, Sporting Goods such as, cricket bat, balls and related gear, football, soccerball, rugby ball, mini ball, beach balls, etc, Leather Tanneries, Leather Products, Leather Garments, saddles, Surgical Instruments, beauty care instruments, Cutlery, hunting equipment, fishing equipments, rifles, guns, swords, knives, Musical Instruments, Knitwear and hosiery, footwear, textile, Embroidered Badges, Silk & Gilt Cords, Flags, Banners, Pennants, Beverages & Processed Fruit Juices, Ice Cream & Dairy Products, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Sanitary Fittings, Sanitary Ware, Earthen Ware, Flour Mills, Rice Mills, Sugar Mills, Vegetable Ghee/Cooking Oil Mills, Iron & Steel Re-Rolling Mills, Diesel Engines, farming gear etc.  In total there are more than 3,500 units.

 

Farming is also an important player in rural areas, hence annual availability of hides and skins is estimated at 536 thousand pieces. Related to this there are 92 tanneries, 244 leather products manufacturing units, and more than 900 sports goods manufacturing units.

 

Poultry is also a good industry and there are 954 broiler, 134 layer and 9 breeding poultry farms having rearing capacity of 11150, 747 and 63 thousand birds respectively.

 

History of Surgical Industry:

Sialkot’s surgical industry’s history is tagged with Wazirabad’s find craftsmen.

A U.S Economist “Paul Krugmann” calls a "historic accident". The craftsmen of Sialkot were famous during the Mughal period for their fine swords and daggers, but the introduction of rifle in 1857, put them out of work. The opportunity for alternative work arose in 1905, when some broken equipment at the American Mission Hospital in Sialkot afforded a chance to adopt their skills. Encouraged by the hospital staff, they gradually started manufacturing replicas of originals. Before long, orders were received from other mission hospitals in British India. By 1920, Sialkot was exporting to all parts of British Empire including Afghanistan and Egypt and was later selected for supplying surgical instruments for the Allied forces in World War II. The Metal Industries Development Centre (MIDC) was established in 1942 to act as a supply and inspection agency for the Allied forces. Although the surgical instruments manufacturing factories were mostly owned by Hindus, the craftsmen were mostly Muslim and the industry was not affected by the partition of British India.

 

History of Sporting Goods Industry

According to a myth, the sport goods industry started in Sialkot because an English man broke his tennis racket and, since an immediate replacement was not possible, he asked a local to repair it. The man did a perfect job and the sports goods manufacturing industry took root in Sialkot.

 

As recorded in the history Sialkot industry paid over Rs. 10,000 as income tax in year 1920.Two fifth of the tax was furnished by the firm of Uberoi Ltd. Two Uberoi brothers Ganda Singh and Jhanda Singh started small scale manufacturing of cricket bats with only half a dozen workmen, and later badminton, tennis racquets, polo sticks, cricket balls, hockey balls, hockey sticks, footballs, golf club and gymnastics equipment in their products. The local willow and then Kashmiri willow was first tried but the best result were not achieved.

 

In 1899 the Uberoi brothers separated and took to trade rivalry. Ganda Singh made a great advance by importing English willow for cricket bats. In 1903 he visited England, studied the trade there, and eventually imported power machines and English experts. A system of apprenticeship was started and workmen in Sialkot trained to follow English methods. Apprenticeship indentures were not actually employed but boys were taken on for a couple of months or so, to judge of their suitability, and were paid 3 to 4 annas a day, they were then specialized in light work such as stitching balls, and as they grew they were pushed up into higher grade work in the same line. After the first period they usually signed on again, and were finally graded into classes. Many boys left after six years and many stayed on for 14 or 18 years. The first grade workmen, able to turn out work equal to English model, only formed about 2 to 3 percent of the total and they were extremely difficult to retain. Many workmen that learnt in Ganda Singh's shops had gone away to set up at their own. The result was sporting goods turned out at Sialkot and exported without maker's marks to dealers elsewhere who put their own marks on the goods.

 

The English experts, Mr. Trimmings and his son, had been responsible for progress in the quality of the firm Uberoi Ltd, and the former had introduced many patents and improvements. The firm Uberoi Ltd was the only firm at that time that employed power machines and had been responsible for the great strides made by the industry in general. The export of sports goods to England had developed immensely during the world war when English industries were at standstill, and Sialkot goods were found in Japan , America, Australia, Africa and other countries, mostly in British Empire.

 

By 1903, cricket bats were being crafted from imported English willow and exported to different parts of South Asia and beyond. In 1922, one, Mr. Syed, was awarded the British Empire Export Award for supplying footballs to the British Army.