Kanpur tanneries may be shifted out

Officials of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will meet Uttar Pradesh government officials to discuss the State’s decision to shift over 400 tanneries from Kanpur.

The previous Samajwadi Party government had told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2016 that the tanneries could not be shifted, for no land was available. The Yogi Adityanath government has reportedly identified fresh land.

Affect employment

Were the tanneries to be shifted, it could affect nearly two million people dependent on them for their livelihood. It could also mean that alternative technologies — like the zero liquid discharge (ZLD) plant promoted by the CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai — may not be implemented. “If the tanneries were to be shifted, there would not be any need for ZLD plants,” NMCG chief U.P. Singh told The Hindu.

“We will be meeting U.P. government officials this week. We are concerned only with the river getting cleaned.”

The tannery clusters at Jajmau employ over two million people; for long, tannery managers have argued that the new-technology effluent treatment plants are expensive. Were the tanneries to shift, a new common effluent treatment plant would have to be developed.

Contamination aspects

In a report covering various aspects of contamination in the river, the Central Pollution Control Board had informed the NGT that the Ganga, running 543 km between Haridwar and Kanpur, was affected by 1,072 seriously polluting industries that were releasing heavy metals and pesticides. At present, 823.1 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage and 212.42 MLD of industrial effluent flow into the river, while three of the four monitored sewage treatment plants do not comply with the set standards.

The green panel has divided the cleaning work in segments — Gomukh-Haridwar (Phase-I); Haridwar-Unnao (segment B of Phase-I); Unnao-the border of Uttar Pradesh; the border of Uttar Pradesh-the border of Jharkhand; and the border of Jharkhand-the Bay of Bengal.

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