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State shift push to tanners

The state government has urged tannery-owners to relocate to the Bantala leather complex as “construction of the basic infrastructure” has been completed there.

Commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen on Saturday said the government would provide all assistance to tanners in shifting their units and starting production.

Inaugurating the international leather goods fair at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Sen said work on the leather complex project was “progressing satisfactorily”. WBIDC chairman Somnath Chatterjee was present on the occasion.

The first two modules of the common effluent treatment plants are ready for tanneries that would start operation immediately, Sen added. The government will soon start construction work on two other modules, along with the common chrome recovery plant.

“Tanners shifting to the new complex will have to adopt chrome separation and solid matter separation methods in order to maintain the effectiveness of the latest technology,’’ the minister said.

“I believe the full-fledged commissioning of the leather complex project will accelerate growth in the state’s leather industry, including the leather goods sector,’’ he added.

But despite the government’s assurances of providing all facilities, tanners are reluctant to move in to the new complex. According to spokesman for Indian Leather Products Association Pradip Bothra, a lot of work, essential for leather industries, was pending.

“Tannery-owners will not be interested in shifting unless construction is over. There is no doubt that all tanners will have to relocate their units there, but it is only a question of time,’’ Bothra added.

Sen, too, admitted that it would take some more time to complete construction, but the infrastructure, as of now, would meet the basic requirements of the tanners.

“I request you to visit the complex and see the facilities. If anything more is needed to be done, we will definitely provide that,” he said. The government would also provide assistance in setting up a leather goods park on the eastern fringe of the city.

The state produces nearly 20 per cent of country’s leather products and accounts for nearly 16 per cent of the leather goods export.

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