IN partnership with Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Council of Leather Exports (CLE) and Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) would prepare a vision document for reviving the leather industry. The abundance of the raw material in a hugely mutton-beef consuming place with a tall order for leather products are the two main factors why the state planners think the initiative could be a hit.
The vision document, said KCCI president Dr Mubin Shah would offer an idea about how many units are viable in given availability of raw material. “There need to be certain restrictions on raw material movement so that local units do not suffer”, he said. Besides, Dr Shah said the document would also identify parties from the local entrepreneurs ready for JVs with non-locals, especially from Chennai, which is India’s
The decisions followed a joint visit of CLE and CLRI executives last month during which they gathered first hand information about the raw material availability, its quality and the upcoming Industrial Growth Centre at Lassipora where a vast stretch is identified as Leather Park . “The team was satisfied with the raw material and its quality as well as the IGC. It said the rising real estate rates in south and expensive skilled labour are the two compelling factors that would get Kashmir its pie in the leather sector”, Irfan Yasin, MD State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) said. The team that also included top executives of the council who are also leading traders also said they would encourage JVs and offer finished leather for product conversion through local artisans on a long term basis.
“Though at a concept stage one idea is to create an SPV between SIDCO, CLE and the central government for promotion of this sector that has growth prospects”, he said.
Certain leather related units have survived in Kashmir against odds. Dar Tannries, perhaps the biggest leather unit that family purchased from the government way back in sixties was taken over by police and other security agencies and converted into a garrison at the Shalteng Crossing. “It was a battle for years together that we were permitted to step in. Our machines are lost and two-third of the premises is still with them”, says Nasir Kawoosa, one of the co-proprietors. “The government wanted the unit to be operational so we made it after infusing over one crore recently. Now we want to start an upper-shoe unit for which banks seek a clearance but it is yet to be issued by the industry ministry”, he added.
In Lassipora - south Kashmir main upcoming industrial hub - Rawanda Tannery with treating capacity of 600 hides a day survived the turmoil. Says Javed Ahmad, manager of the estate: “A modern unit Reem Tanneries is coming up at an investment of over three crore rupees. In the first stage, it wants tanning in the semiprocessing plant and the second stage would manufacture finished goods especially bags for export”, he said. The unit is promoted by Kaisar Mart, Kashmir’s leafing walnut exporter that is talking to Panchkula based Drish Shoes for managing the plant as a JV. If talks succeeded Drish would own around one-third of the unit’s equity on long term basis.