Kanpur | Twelve tanneries have been allotted land by the West Bengal government to shift from Kanpur, following restrictions imposed on them by the Uttar Pradesh government ahead of the Kumbh Mela, business representatives said.
The applicants were told by West Bengal authorities two weeks ago to collect their allotment letters on Friday, Javed Iqbal, Regional Chairman, Council for Leather Export (Central Region) said Saturday.
UP Leather Industries Association vice-president Iftikharul Ameen said he got his own letter during the Bengal Global Business Summit, which ended Friday.
This is the first phase of approval of applications by the West Bengal government and more are expected to get their letters soon, Iqbal said.
About 80 industrialists had applied for land in the Bantala leather industry cluster near Kolkata.
According to Iqbal, the Kanpur industrialists will together invest about 1,000 crore there.
There are 400 tanneries in the leather industry hub in Kanpur and 40 in neighbouring Unnao district.
The BJP government had issued a directive to shut these tanneries from December 15 last year for three months to stop waste disposal in the Ganga, claiming this was necessary to keep the river clean during the Kumbh now on in Allahabad.
Reacting to the development, UP Industries Minister Satish Mahana said only Kanpur can provide the excellent environment for the industry. “In Kolkata, there is no favourable atmosphere for the tannery industry.
West Bengal has the worst political system in the whole country, he charged, suggesting that the ruling Trinamool Congress workers are goons ,
But Iqbal said Kolkata is a better bet than Kanpur-Unnao.
What will the industrialists produce and what will they sell as the tanneries here have been asked to remain closed till March 15?” he asked.
UP Leather Industries Association (UPLIA) president Taj Alam said since the change of government in the state, business has been hit hard.
He claimed the tanneries being falsely accused of polluting the Ganga.
Foreign businesses have also started looking at nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh and China for leather, Alam claimed.
According to Igbal, each applicant has been allotted a plot measuring 3,000 square metre in Bantala. The allotment letters were issued by that state’s Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Textiles Department
The land has been provided at a low price of Rs 2,700 per square metre, he said.
UPLIAs vice-president Iftikharul Ameen said he had applied for 5,000 sqm of land and was allotted a 3,000 sqm plot during the business summit.
The rate of Rs 2,700 per square metre includes the cost of a common effluent treatment plant to be build soon, he said.
We chose to shift our tanneries to Kolkata as there was a threat of complete closure of tanneries here, Taj Alam said.
In addition, he said, Kolkata is a metropolitan city with an international airport. Skilled and unskilled workers are easily available, he added.