Cattle ban to have major impact on leather items; price may go up, export down

Major blow to Rs 15K cr TN tanning industry.

Chennai: The Union government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at livestock market would serve as a major blow to the world renowned leather industry of Tamil Nadu, which accounts for 40 per cent of $6 billion leather export market of the country.

Leather units located in Ranipet in Vellore district, Dindigul, Tiruchy, Puducherry, Ambur and Chennai are the worst affected. Though the Madurai Bench of the Madras high court granted a stay on the notification of the Union government, the leather industry owners feel the Centre would move higher courts to get the stay overturned.

“Cattle hide is mostly used to make heavy leathers that go into making of products like upholstery, household articles, shoes and huaraches. With this move, the supply chain of raw material will get affected as a result of which the prices may go up by 20 per cent. Foreign countries may not be interested in importing our leather, as it will be costlier. This is a major hit for the economy,” Israr Ahmed Mecca, regional chairman (South), Council for Leather Exports (CLE) told Deccan Chronicle.

Concurring with Mr Ahmed’s views, Rafeeq Ahmed, chairman of CLE, said while the country exports huge amount of leather, big firms also import 40 per cent of the cattle heed from other countries to make heavy items as they are of better quality.

Local skin is only used for inner linings, bags, chappals and huaraches, he said.
But the main concern is about local manufacturers, who completely depend on local heed for making all articles including garments, shoes and bags.

Mohammed Jahan, managing director of Pallavaram Tannery Cluster that houses 120 tanneries, said people say slaughter is banned only in markets and we can still buy skin from farms. But most of the tanneries across the state procure 90 per cent of the raw material from mandis and only 10 per cent from farms.

“The ban is a cause of worry as it is almost impossible for us to produce leather from next month. Moreover, customers are afraid to give orders from this month itself fearing escalation of price. Most of the companies might vanish from next month,” he feared.

Revenue to be hit by 60 per cent

Revenue of leather industries is expected to come down at least by 60 per cent and there is a fear of job cuts. “It takes 7-8 people to make a small article and they say the industry tries to make the same article with four people. After one month, we don’t know how the condition will be,” said one of the workers at a tannery in Ranipet.

When asked if they could substitute the buffalo skin with sheep or goat heed, leather industry experts said heavy articles cannot be made with sheepskin and they are only used for making petty and delicate products. So, cattle skin is essential to get the industry going. However, government officials say the real impact will only be known after a month. Government also will not be able to help much as it is a by-product industry and not a direct industry.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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