English Script: Fuzaila Khan
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
In poll-bound Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, traders and labourers of the tannery industries are feeling the heat of demonetisation, implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax), and the successive waves of coronavirus.
Located in the Jajmau area, the owners of the factories allege facing a tough time and getting no support from the government or the concerned authorities. As a result, traders claim that only 25 percent of the industry is functional.
‘Output Reduced to 25%’
The Quint spoke with traders, owners, and labourers to gauge the issues and worries as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Pollution Control Board begin to tighten restrictions to ‘reduce pollution.’
Mohammad Arshi, one of the owners of a tannery, said that they were told to reduce their manufacturing output to 50 percent. Following this, another order was issued asking them to dismantle half of their infrastructural set-up or face the risk of the factory being shut down.
"Officials visited and allowed us to operate only after we have complied with their new rules and regulations. Six months later, we were told to work only 15 days per month. As a result, output has reduced to only ‘25 percent’."Mohammad Arshi, Owner of a tannery factory
Another tannery factory owner, Kaushalendra Dixit, claims that water from tanneries is never discharged into the Ganga river and that those who claim otherwise are attempting to damage the image of tannery factories.
Fall in Income
Traders allege that the One District, One Product scheme never got off the ground because government officials were indifferent to this industry.
“Government schemes don’t work unless there is accountability for the same,” says Nayyar Jamal, another tannery factory owner.
Workers are also concerned about the threat that looms large over the industry as the country faces an ‘employment crisis.’ Mohammad Abrar, a labourer, tells The Quint that he earns between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 as compared to his earnings between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 per month earlier.
Kaushalendra Dixit, an owner of one of the factories, raises a few demands for the next government, stating that they should be allowed to work at full scale and too much interference in terms of scaling down is a hindrance for them. Dixit hopes that regular income will allow them to repay loans and cover their expenditure.