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March 22, 2011

Tanning industry of India by Y K Luthra, editor & publisher, Leather Age – Calcutta, India

Y K Luthra

Y K Luthra, editor & publisher, Leather Age – Calcutta, India

For ages India is having largest availability of bovine hides & goat skins. Due to various reasons, quality of these hides is by far poor having empty bellies & shanks. The primary reason of poor quality emanates from live animal which is never reared in larriage and therefore the hides obtained mostly from fallen animal. However some quantity of the hides obtained from slaughtered animals particularly when the animal completes the lactation period and in the case of male folks, they are slaughtered when they become redundant and does not serve any purpose. Due to the vast quantity of poor raw stock, upgradation of final leather quality is absolutely necessary so that they can be utilized gainfully in which Italy can play major role.
Although there is innumerable use of latest & sophisticated Italian tanning machineries in the leather production in India by which machining operation of hides & skins are done at ease as compared to the past, in terms of development of machinery industry in India by the Italian machinery manufacturers is non-existent. As regards SHE (SAFETY, Health & Environment) is concerned these machines from Italy subscribe to all these aspects.

However, in terms of effective pollution control in the various clusters of tanneries in India whereby pollution treatment plants have been put up for collective treatment of tannery waste water, there is no investment in terms of Italian technology in any of these places. Although chrome recovery plants has been sourced from Italy either through grants or through UNEP funds in some of the ETP across the country, actual effectiveness is really to be measured. In India we require cleaner & sustainable production technologies, water management and removal of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) & Persistent Toxic Substances in tannery effluents. Although there is some work has been carried out in these sectors in India, these technologies have not been adopted across the tanneries.

Incidentally Italy being the fashion center of world and leads in making finest leather in the globe, there is no investment by the Italian Government in the tanning industry in India although Italy is one the major trade partner. There must some sort co-operation between India & Italy so that at least research & development center for tanning industry should be installed by the Italian Government and the latest trend in fashion on hides & skins can be sourced by them at much lower cost. This should include development of various types of leather from our available raw stock which can be utilized in latest fashion trends, development of various beam house, wet end & finishing chemicals, development of tanning & finishing machineries, transfer of technology on ETP & Pollution control including Chrome Recovery System. There should be Italian Government system in which latest trend of fashion & latest technologies should be sent from Milan or elsewhere so that Indian tanners can gainfully use them.


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