Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has warned Kanpur based leather tanneries against discharging effluents and industrial waste into the river Ganga.
Asking tanneries to shoulder their responsibility towards preserving the Ganga and ensuring a pollution-free environment in Kanpur, the CM asserted none would be allowed to play with public health in the state.
Currently, majority of Kanpur's tanneries are shut owing to non-compliance of environmental norms. Earlier, these tanneries were notified by the state government for closure between December 15, 2018 and March 15, 2019, to ensure a cleaner Ganga during the 2019 Kumbh Mela at downstream Prayagraj (Allahabad).
However, even after the culmination of Kumbh in March, most of the tanneries remained shut as the state's green watchdog, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), didn't issue the requisite clearance certificate.
Kanpur's tannery sector is about 150 years old and is part of the Rs 12,000 crore composite Kanpur leather cluster, which also embraces the adjacent Unnao district. The cluster generates Rs 6,000 crore worth of exports to the Gulf, Europe, China and Iran. It provides direct and indirect livelihood to almost a million people.
However, continued closure has resulted in huge financial loss to local entrepreneurs apart from loss of their permanent client base, both national and international.
In fact, some tannery operators have already started looking to migrate to other states, including West Bengal. About a dozen entrepreneurs have also got allotment letters from the West Bengal government for setting up their units there.
Kanpur, which was earlier referred to as the ‘Manchester of the East’ owing to a flourishing textiles industry, held on to its reputation of being one of the leading finished leather and leather goods hub. However, leather industrialists foresee bleak prospects going forward owing to environmental concerns, especially those pertaining to river Ganga.
Meanwhile, chairing a review meeting in Lucknow last evening, Adityanath said his government was committed to ensuring cleaner and adequate flow of water in the Ganga in the state.
He asked officials to engage experts from reputed institutions, including Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and Banaras Hindu University (BHU), to seek professional advice for the management of waste generated from the urban centres of UP.
An international seminar on the Ganga is also proposed to be held in the state, for which the CM has directed officials to coordinate with ‘Namami Gange' and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The international seminar is proposed to be held at either Kanpur, Prayagraj (Allahabad) or Varanasi, PM Modi's parliamentary constituency. Modi, in fact, has been a votary for a cleaner Ganga throughout its course.