The Kanpur leather industry, closed since December 2018, has received a breather from the Uttar Pradesh Government. The tanneries have now been allowed to reopen, subject to certain conditions.
The leather industry, including tanneries and leather goods manufacturers, is valued at around Rs 12,000 crore and provides direct and indirect employment to about a million people in Kanpur and Unnao districts. The cluster exports goods worth Rs 6,000 crore to the Gulf, Europe, China, Iran etc.
The tanneries looking to reopen will have to satisfy environmental norms of National Green Tribunal (NGT) and UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), which will also monitor the ground situation before issuing the final no objection certificate. Tanneries will be allowed to re-open only after they ensure that their effluents won't fall into the Ganga.
Nearly 400 tanneries were served notices by UPPCB ordering their closure between December 15, 2018 to March 15, 2019 for ensuring cleaner Ganga during the 2019 Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj (Allahabad).
However, even after the Kumbh Mela was over, tanneries remained shut as the UPPCB did not issue the NoC owing to the presence of pollutants beyond the permissible limits in the Ganga.
The indefinite closure resulted in financial loss apart from loss of clients, both national and international. In fact, big tannery owners had started mulling shifting to other States, including West Bengal.
Small Tanners’ Association member Nayyar Jamal claimed that production in tanneries was likely to fall 50 per cent owing to restrictions. He also claimed UPPCB was yet to apprise tanneries of the fresh state government order in this regard.