Bantala: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra said on Tuesday ( 26 Feb 2019) that Bantala is poised to become the world’s biggest leather hub, employing more than 6 lakh people in the next few years. The minister handed over letters of land allotment to 25 big tanneries at a programme in Bantala and said that the state government has taken all possible measures to convert the Calcutta Leather Complex (CLC) at Bantala into a mega leather cluster. “The government is all set to spend Rs 540 crore for massive infrastructure development at Bantala. Our intention is to turn the leather hub at Bantala into the world’s largest,” Mitra said. The leather industry at Bantala has a turnover of Rs 13,500 crore including export and local sale and employs more than 2.5 lakh workers directly.

Among the tanneries that were handed over allotment letters for land, 12 are from Kanpur and 12 from Kolkata, with 1 from Chennai. Elaborating on the infrastructural development work to be taken up at Bantala, Mitra said that four common effluent treatment plants (CETP) are already undergoing repair, while the government has decided to come up with four more CETPs at an expense of Rs 168 crore. The repair work for CETPs will be completed in six months, while the four new plants will be completed in 15 months. Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority is implementing the projects for CETPs.

The government is also coming up with a dedicated pipeline for carrying the water treated by CETPs to the river. “We are spending Rs 100 crore for the project and the action is compliant with the pollution norms,” Mitra said. He maintained that the state is setting up a dumping ground in Bantala to dump the silt after clearing the clogged canal. “I had an interaction with state Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim and he had said that it is not feasible to dump the silt at our existing dumping ground in Haldia, by carrying silt in trucks which may be toxic in nature. So, the decision was made to have a dumping place here,” the minister said.

The state is also coming up with a modern design centre and a road network as part of the infrastructure boost. Javed Ahmed Khan, minister for Disaster Management, said that the leather industry from North India is migrating to Bantala because the infrastructure for such industry is the best in Bengal. At present, there are 300 tanneries in CLC and 40 leather goods manufacturing units are operational. After installation of the new infrastructure, 200 more tanneries, 230 more leather units and footwear park can be set up on the available 230 acre land.