Uttar Pradesh government passed an order to close tanneries and meat factories in Kanpur and Unnao for three months during the congregation.
Allahabad: The upcoming Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 being held in Uttar Pradesh may create joblessness for scores of people working in the leather and tannery sectors. The Yogi Adityanath government had passed an order to close tanneries and meat factories in Kanpur and Unnao for three months during the congregation from December 15 to March 15.
The state government had said that this decision was taken to provide clean water to participating devotees.
Close to 264 small and big tanneries operate Kanpur and Unnao. Taj Alam, the president of the UP Leather Industries Association (LIA), told PTI the state government's move has come as a shock for the leather industry and meat processing units.
Alam said the complete closure of tanneries could spell trouble for over three lakh workers who hail from socially and economically backward community and are engaged in the industry.
The leather and leather goods export business and domestic sales from Kanpur and Unnao are around Rs. 20 billion a month each and the complete closure would hit business worth over Rs. 120 billion, Alam feared. "There will be large-scale job loss if the ban is not revoked."
He said that this was the first time that tanneries have been asked to close during Kumbh. “Previously, during Kumbhs tanneries were told to shut the wet operations four to five days before every shahi snan. Shutting down for three months would result in losses. What about the people who are employed in the tanneries and what happens to export orders?” said Alam.
Unnao district has seven meat processing units with a combined annual turnover of Rs. 100 billion. The winter days are its peak season and the ban on tanneries will seriously hit the meat export business, the Business Standard reported.
Alam said the effluent released from tanneries into the Ganga may not be even half as polluting as the untreated water released from various towns along the river.
The tanners treat the water thrice before releasing it into the river, Alam said, adding the water from the plants is diverted to Rai Bareli and 80 per cent of the waste water does not reach the Ganga and this has been shown in the inquiry report made jointly by top administrative and irrigation department officials of Unnao district just a fortnight back.
This news first started doing the rounds in May and UP has become notorious for mob lynching incidents where cow vigilantes have attacked and killed cattle traders and farmers.
The Kumbh Mela is a congressional Hindu pilgrimage in which devotees gather to bathe in river Ganga. The Ardh Kumbh will be held in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) from January 15 to March 4, 2019.