The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has allowed 101 tanneries in Kanpur to reopen on the condition that they halve production and modify their infrastructure in compliance with the anti-pollution norms.
The decision was taken after an ongoing inspection by the Kanpur District Magistrate Vijay Vishwas Pant gave a go-ahead to the tanneries. Ahead of the Kumbh Mela, the state government had directed to shut the 261 operational tanneries in November because of alleged waste disposal in the Ganga river.
There are a total of 402 tanneries in Kanpur.UPPCB sources said the owners of the tanneries were reportedly asked to comply with the new production and infrastructure rules. The owners informed the board that they would comply. The board later asked the Kanpur district administration to verify the information submitted by the owners, the sources said.
In July, DM Pant formed a joint committee comprising officials from UP Jal Nigam and the district pollution control board to check these tanneries.
“We have given permission on the basis of a report sent by the district magistrate of Kanpur,” said Ashish Tiwari, Member Secretary of UPPCB.The committee formed by the DM is still conducting survey of other tanneries, whose owners had claimed to have fulfilled all conditions. Sources said the decision to halve production was taken to reduce load on treatment plants. Officials did not rule out the possibility that production rider would be removed, depending upon functioning of the tanneries.
DM Pant said, “A district administration official has been asked to randomly visit the tanneries and check if all the norms set by the pollution board are being followed.”
Small Tanneries’ Association president Babu Bhai said, “For the last eight months, we had been running from pillar to allow us run the tanneries. Now, when the permission is granted, there is a rider to reduce production by 50 per cent. We are worried whether tanneries will survive in the state.”
Javed Iqbal, Regional Chairman of Council for Leather Export (Central region, Kanpur), said, “Our business has almost ruined because of closure of the units for such a long time.”