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29 May 2017

Leather exporters want cattle ban to be revoked

Leather exporters want cattle ban to be revokedMP | 28 May 2017 | Kolkata:The Centre's ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter would adversely affect the leather industry, leather exporters here said and demanded that the decision be either revoked or amended.

If nothing was done, the leather exporters threatened to take to the streets.

"The Centre has handed over a death certificate to us... This (decision) will drastically impact the leather industry," Council of Leather Exports, regional chairman (East) Ramesh Kumar Juneja told reporters here. He further criticised the Central government for not consulting the states nor the leather industry before issuing such a notification. He said that the decision would hit close to 35 million people involved in the leather sector.

Exports to decline by 50 percent from $7 billion to $3.5 billion and will cripple the leather industry because of such a decision of the Centre, he further added.

Demanding the revocation, members from different committees of the leather sector claimed that already 100 leather goods' manufacturing factories in Bengal has shut shop in the past few days and around 4,000 people have lost their jobs.

Members from the eastern region of the Council of Leather Exports, CLC Tanners Association and Indian Leather Products Association held a joint press conference in the city on Sunday.

Threatening to take out agitations, they said they would also be approaching Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking her intervention in this regard. They would be meeting state Finance Minister Amit Mitra soon. Criticising Centre's decision, Ramesh Juneja, Regional Chairman (East) of the Council of Leather Exports, said: "The decision of the Centre is nothing but handing over of death certificate to the 35 million people involved in the leather industry and its allied sectors."

Appreciating the move of the Chief Minister for the growth of small-scale industries in the state, Juneja said: "We will be approaching her with the issue." It may be mentioned that this comes at the time when big players in the country's leather industry have decided to invest Rs 1,000 crore to set up tanneries on 2 lakh square metre area in the Kolkata Leather Complex. According to other members from the leather industry, demonetisation had left a deep impact in their business and before they could overcome the losses, another decision of the Centre is going to leave an adverse affect on the entire industry.

With a ban on sale of all kinds of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, it would not be possible to reach the target of turnover worth $27 billion by 2020. One of the main reasons behind this would be a sharp decline in exports. The exports would go down by at least 50 percent in the next 10 months if the Centre doesn't revoke its decision. With the ban, at least 200 tanneries will be out of job and ultimately those will be forced to shut down. Every month from Bengal around 50,000 to 60,000 tonne of finished leather is exported.

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