The new leather complex is going to generate nearly 500,000 job opportunities which will be about 40 pc of employment possibilities for the state.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on July 18 inaugurated a cluster of new projects along with laying the foundation stone of many other projects at Asia’s first ‘Integrated Leather Complex’ at the Calcutta Leather Complex (CLC) in Bantala in the east neighbourhood of Kolkata which will create 500,000 new job opportunities in the near future.
The CM formally allotted 70 acres of land to 187 new tanneries from Kolkata, Kanpur and Chennai, taking the total number of tanneries to be operational in near future at the CLC to close to more than 790. Banerjee also said that the government will help tanners from Calcutta willing to invest in the CLC to get lands and compensated with incentives for additional cost. “It is not my land. The land was given by the earlier government to someone else. We will provide special incentives to tanners to get land. There must not be any differences,” she said.
The leather hub of the country
Out of the 187 new tanneries, 27 are big category, 97 medium and 62 are small category companies. Close to 60 pc of the new allotment has been tanneries from Uttar Pradesh, about 35 pc for those in West Bengal and about five percent for those based in Tamil Nadu, said Ramesh Kumar Juneja, regional head, Indian Leather Products Association (ILPA).
Along with declaring the projects, Banerjee assured that the government has taken the required steps to protect the environment from the possible pollution which was one of the main reasons for closing of nearly 400 tanneries in the north-Indian state Uttar Pradesh. The Bengal government has decided to set up eight effluent treatment plants. “When industry in Kanpur is shrinking, we have taken steps to bring it to Bengal but not by compromising the environment. There will be eight effluent treatment plants of which four are already done, two will be complete by November and another two will come up shortly,” the chief minister added.
The CM also laid foundation stones to establish a leather goods park, where leather goods unit will be set up with main focus on export, and a 60 acres footwear park with export-focused units. She also inaugurated common facility centre (CFC) for leather goods manufacturers to support them with latest machinery, 10 acres micro tanner’s hub to provide ready-to-use spaces for tanners with direct employment, eco-friendly CFC for leather scrap burners to manufacture leather cards and boards, seventh and eighth common effluent treatment plants (CETP), secured landfill sites for solid waste management on 36 acres of land and sewage treatment plant.
Amit Mitra, the finance, industry and commerce, and information technology and e-governance minister has said that the government is spending INR 5.4 billion for infrastructural development at CLC to turn leather hub into one of the world’s largest one.
The CM named the ‘Integrated Leather Complex’ project as Karmadiganta (new horizon for job opportunities), as it will provide huge number of employment. “Finance minister Amit Mitra was asking whether there should be a new name for such a big leather and tannery hub. As there is large employment opportunity, I have given this place a new name- Karmadiganta. There is an employment potential of 500,000 people and there is an investment potential of INR 800 billion,” added Banerjee. Also six buses were handed over by the government for the transportation convenience of the workers to commute to the hub.
She also reiterated the fact that when the country is facing a high unemployment rate, Bengal has created so many new opportunities by about 40 pc. Also the IT company in the complex will be slowly moved out to some other place as the complex opens up new horizons for the leather industry.
“This initiative will help generate employment at high rate and the international markets already established here will also be helped by the infrastructure provided here as it is not found anywhere in Asia till now. It is growing like anything as after China, Vietnam and Combodia, India is also part of the growing industry. The way this event was organised, it is very positive,” said Jagdish Gulati, vice president, ILPA to Media India Group while commenting on the importance of the event.