A month after the Indian Government banned the import of Chinese toys, the Kashmir Valley still seems to have a fancy for low cost battery operated toys.
The Indian Government's decision to ban the import of Chinese toys was taken on the grounds of public safety and the move was also deemed compatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
AdvertisementGovernment officials claimed the Chinese toys contained lead. This element, if ingested, can cause various ills like brain hemorrhage, anemia, learning problems and slow growth.
The federal health ministry has also issued warnings against Chinese toys.
Chinese products, however, continue to attract Indian customers for their sheer look and cheap rates.
"There are a lot of options to choose from the Chinese toys available in the market.
Children also prefer these toys to the Indian toys. These toys are cheap also," said Niyaz Ahmad, a customer.
Shopkeepers also say selling Chinese toys helps them to earn decent margins.
"Because of the Chinese toys, our turnover has increased. Now, I cannot even imagine my shop without Chinese toys. If we do not keep the latest stock of Chinese toys, we end up making losses as compared to other shopkeepers. These toys generate a lot of income for us," said Manzoor Ahmad, a shopkeeper.
Meanwhile, India has urged Beijing to be more transparent about its low-cost manufacturing as it can also prove to undermine its own industries.
China, a key supplier of toys, apparel and food to the world, has faced a wave of complaints in recent years, most recently as thousands of people have fallen ill as a result of consuming milk powder tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics.
In 2007, the world's leading toy maker Mattel recalled over 21 million Chinese-made toys worldwide due to excessive levels of lead paint and other unsafe components.
The Toy Association of India President Raj Kumar had earlier requested the government to raise import taxes on Chinese toys.
The step in this regard is expected to be taken in the interest of the economy and consumer safety.