Perambalur to get a Mega Leather Cluster

Perambalur in Tamil Nadu is one of the six sites identified for establishing Mega Leather Clusters (MLCs) that constitute one of the important measures taken by the Government of India to achieve the target of $14 billion leather exports by 2017, R. Ramesh Kumar, Executive Director of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the 47{+t}{+h}edition of LERIG, a networking event of leather sector professionals, that begins here on January 28, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said about 200 acres of land had been earmarked in Perambalur for setting up the cluster.

The other sites are at Ramaipur, Sandila and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Mewar (Rajasthan) and Taramandal (Andhra Pradesh).

The MLCs are a sub-scheme launched under the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) with an allocation of Rs. 600 crore during the 12{+t}{+h}Plan period.

The scheme targets industrial clusters with high growth potential that require strategic interventions by way of infrastructural support.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai are designated as project management consultants to assist the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Leather exports have been averaging 20 per growth annually and aggregated $4.86 billion in 2011-12. Leather exports are tipped to cross $8 billion in 2014.

The other important intervention by the Centre is the launch of the Leather Sector Skill Development Council that is mandated with providing soft skills/hard skills training to the largely semi-skilled workforce in the leather sector, said Mr. Ramesh Kumar.

At present about 30 per cent of the two crore workforce in the sector are women. It is estimated that the sector would need to not only significantly expand its labour base (at least to 5 crore) but also vastly improve skill sets to achieve exports targets and compete on the global stage, N. Shafeeque Ahmed, CLE vice chairman said.

Leather is one of the top forex earning sectors and a focused sector in Foreign Trade Policy (2009-14).

The CLE office-bearers were optimistic that after a slump in demand coupled with the late onset of winter in Europe, which has been the traditional stronghold for Indian exporters, exports would gain momentum in the next couple of months.

Giving the details of LERIG 2013, A.B. Mandal, CLRI Director, said the leather sector’s flagship event was themed ‘Global Alliances with Integrated Networking to GAIN value for leather.’

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