Kanpur is the largest city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It was known as Cawnpore in colonial times and is a major industrial centre of North India. The city is famous for its chemical (fertilizer, detergent), textile, and leather industries. The city was also an important British garrison during pre-independence era. Located on the west bank of the Ganges River, it is a principal trade and commercial centre in North India with the first woollen mill of India, the British India Corporation established here in 1876 by Alexander McRobert.

The city is widely regarded as “The Leather City of the World” and is also nicknamed as “Manchester of India“.

Leather Industry of Uttar Pradesh (U.P) 

In Uttar Pradesh, the leather clusters are primarily located at Kanpur-Jajmau, Unnao and Banther, and manufacturing units at Agra and Noida. In Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh itself, there are about 400 tanneries in Jajmau, of which 10-12 can be considered as large tanneries and the remaining are small and medium. Most of these tanneries are micro or small in nature being run by a handful of people, and have a turnover of between Rs. 5-20 lakhs annually. It is a prominent center for leather processing, especially for the manufacture of saddlery products.

Jajmau/Kanpur is a prominent center for leather processing, especially for the manufacture of saddlery products. Some of the key features of the UP leather industry are as follows-

  1. Uttar Pradesh has around 20% of tanneries in India. All of these units are situated in the cluster of Jajmau-Kanpur, Unnao and Banthar, and footwear manufacturing units situated in Agra and Noida.
  2. Kanpur is a major production centre for saddlery goods in India accounting for more than 95% of the total exports of saddlery items from India.
  3. Kanpur specializes in tanning and finishing of buffalo hides. It is the only centre in the country where harness leather, which is major input for saddlery industry, is manufactured.
  4. Jajmau, Kanpur is the biggest and the oldest cluster with recent and more organised units in Unnao and Banthar. Around 90% units in Jajmau, Kanpur are MSMEs. The tanneries in Kanpur cluster are mostly members of U.P. Leather Industry Association, Small Tanners Association and Jajmau Tanneries Association.
  5. Kanpur Leather cluster holds a significant position overall for the sector in India
  6. Easy access to technology, equipment, skilled labour and chemicals
  7. Existence of a strong ‘symbiotic relation’ between small and large tanneries
  8. Consensus among tanneries for abatement of environment pollution as a priority
  9. Emphasis to apply mitigation technology and good manufacturing practices


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