Leather exporters here on Sunday said the Centre’s decision to ban sale of cattle from animal markets for slaughter will adversely affect the industry. Representatives of Council of Leather Exports, CLA Tanners Association and Indian Leather Products Association also threatened to move court if the decision was either not revoked or amended.
“If the Centre does not immediately withdraw or amend the notification then we will approach the court,” said Imran Ahmed Khan, general secretary of CLA Tanners Association. The exporters also threatened to hit the streets and informed that they would approach Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the issue. The central government on May 23 banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter and prohibited practices which are cruel to animals including painting of horns and putting ornaments or decorative materials on them.
According to data provided by the leather exporters, the centre’s decision would hit close to 35 million people involved in the leather sector and also hit 22 million people involved with the meat industry. Exports to decline by 50 per cent from USD 7 billion to USD 3.5 billion and will cripple the leather industry because of such a decision of the Centre. Around 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes of finished leather is exported from West Bengal every month and due to this ban around 200 tannery units will be forced to cease all commercial activities with immediate effect. West Bengal currently has close to 350 tanneries with around 1500 leather goods exporters having an annual turnover of Rs 6,000 crore. According to Khan, around 100 factories have shut down and close to 4,000 labourers are jobless in West Bengal.
“This is a man-made crisis. This decision will drastically impact the leather industry. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been inspiring small-scale industrialists. She has been showing us the way. We seek her intervention into the matter,” said Council of Leather Exports, regional chairman (East) Ramesh Kumar Juneja. According to him, last year’s demonetisation of old denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 had affected the industry very badly and the ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter would finish the industry totally.
Exporter of finished leather Mohammed Zia Nafis said this ban would help Bangladesh gain advantage in this sector. “Bangladesh has gained a lot because of our loss. And now if this decision is imposed then the leather industry in Bangladesh will gain a lot further,” Nafis said.