The leather industry in Vellore district is one of the largest in the country, and it is looking to the State government for help with resources and give a boost to the infrastructure.
Areas in Vellore district, particularly Ranipet, Melvisharam, Ambur and Vaniyambadi, are home to hundreds of leather manufacturing units. Nationally, if the whole State accounts for 45 per cent of leather exports, Vellore’s share stands at 30 per cent, according to M. Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman of Council for Leather Exports.
“When it comes to leather exports, Vellore is the largest contributing district. One of the biggest problems faced by the sector here is environment related. In many States, the government contributes to enable leather industries to adopt and implement a zero-liquid discharge system,” he says.
While industries get funding from the Centre for the implementation of the system, the Tamil Nadu government, Mr. Ahmed says, should contribute funds for bringing in a permanent solution.
Another crucial requirement for the leather sector is continuous power supply. To boost exports, the State government should intervene and get the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated expressway built fast, he adds.
“The works have been stalled for nearly five years. If this is completed, there will be 24-hour movement of container lorries. Presently, lorries are allowed into the port after 10 p.m. and this is leading to queuing of vehicles. The project will breathe life into the port.”
S. Faiyaz Ahmed, honorary secretary of Ambur Tanners Association, also insists that the government should invest in the sector. “We are facing a water shortage in Vellore. We recycle processed water and reuse it. Currently, we are able to recycle 70 per cent water, and want to take this to 90 per cent. This requires a lot of investment, and we need the State government’s investment to take this forward.”
Of the total exports, Vellore alone accounts for Rs. 5,000-Rs. 6000 crore worth of products.
“Many foreigners visit places such as Ranipet, Ambur and Vaniyambadi. The municipalities do not have sewage treatment plants and sewage overflows onto the roads in many areas, and this does not give a good impression,” he says. The government, Mr. Faiyaz Ahmed adds, should provide special attention for towns that generate employment and foreign exchange and establish proper infrastructure such as STPs and roads.
According to him, the town of Ambur contributes Rs. 14 crore annually to the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme. But, the people here do not get to enjoy the benefits.
“Only two ESI hospitals in the State — at Chennai and Salem — performed major surgeries,” he points out. “The ESI dispensary at Ambur should be upgraded and equipped to perform major surgeries.”
Source: THE HINDU