LUCKNOW: In a decision likely to impact the leather industry of Kanpur and Unnao, the Uttar Pradesh government has ordered closure of 264 tanneries situated on the banks of Ganga for three months from December ahead of the Kumbh Mela scheduled for January 2019. The tanneries located in Kanpur’s Jajmau suburb and Unnao were asked to shut down the operations to facilitate clean water with lesser quantity of pollutants while it flows towards Sangam City of Allahabad during the mela.
The order for closure was released by principal secretary environment Renuka Kumar in June, 2018 wherein she had issued directives to authorities concerned, including UP Pollution Control Board, Urban Development department and Jal Nigam to initiate closure of Unnao and Kanpur tanneries from December 15, 2018 to March 15, 2019. Notably, the Yogi government had made it clear that no effluent would be released by the tanneries into Ganga in order to keep it clean for Kumbh Mela as the seers had threatened to boycott Shahi Snans (royal bathings) during the upcoming mela due to the high levels of pollution in the river.
Working in coordination with Centre under the ongoing ambitious Rs 20,000 crore National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the CM had said that his government had drawn up a plan to develop ponds at every 100 km along the route of Ganga crisscrossing the state.
Even as per the recommendations of the National green Tribunal (NGT), the state government is giving a serious thought to shifting the tanneries away from the river bank. The land for relocation of leather factories was being identified by the state authorities. However, Taj Alam, regional head of Council of Leather Exports, the decision would deal a huge blow to the leather industry in Kanpur and Unnao. The council has petitioned Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking his intervention in the matter.
26 million litres of tannery effluent
Tanneries with 6,000 crore worth of exports business in the Unnao-Kanpur belt and domestic industry of another 6,000 crore, release around 26 million litres of tannery effluent into the river on daily basis.