West Bengal is all set to become the leather hub of the country. The Mamata Banerjee-led government is rolling out a red carpet for tanners from Uttar Pradesh who are facing the ire of the Adityanath government.
The West Bengal government on Thursday announced a fresh allotment of 187 new tanneries at the Calcutta Leather Complex in Bantala, Asia’s largest integrated leather complex. It has allotted about 70 acres of additional land to the existing 202 acres complex.
Close to 60 per cent of the new allotment has been for tanneries based in Uttar Pradesh, about 35 per cent for those in West Bengal, and about 5 per cent for those based in Tamil Nadu, said Ramesh Kumar Juneja, regional head, Indian Leather Product Association (ILPA).
In the past two to three years, out of 500 tanneries in Uttar Pradesh, more than 400 tanneries were closed on orders from the state's Pollution Control Board.
At present, a handful of about 35 to 36 tanneries are operational in the state, although the UP government is likely to allow the reopening of many in the coming days, says Javed Iqbal, president, Council for Leather Exports.
However, the incentives laid out by the West Bengal government might prompt tanners further expansion of their business here, he added.
At present there are close to 400 tanneries operational at the hub, and in the next two years, about 600 more are likely to set up units in Bantala complex, said Iqbal.
The Bengal government will establish a leather goods park and a footwear park, along with a common facility centre to support leather processing. Also on cards is a micro tanners’ hub spread over 10 acres and a sewerage treatment plant spread over 50 acres among other facilities.
The size of the leather industry in Uttar Pradesh is pegged at around Rs 30,000 crore, according to Iqbal.