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4 Chennai leather firms to set up units in J&K

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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, with Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, Deputy Chief Minister, and Mr A. Sahasranamam, Principal Secretary, Industries, at press conference in Chennai. -- Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , Aug. 8

FOUR leading leather companies from Chennai, including one that makes shoes for Florsheim brand, have committed to set up facilities in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) either on their own or through collaborations with local partners.

Mr M.M. Hashim, a leading exporter, has agreed to set up a garment unit in Srinagar, while Mr Zacharia Sait has said that he would collaborate with local tanners to establish modern tanneries in the valley.

The A.V. Thomas group is prepared to provide work to small manufacturers for making a wide range of leather products, and Mr Aminur-ur Rahman, whose company makes shoes for Florsheim, is expected to open a facility within 4-5 months in Jammu, according to State Government officials.

This follows efforts taken by the J&K administration to woo leather industrialists from Tamil Nadu to establish manufacturing units in the State.

As part of these efforts, the J&K Chief Minister, Mr Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, and a team of officials had a meeting today with leaders in the leather industry.

As a result of the meeting, the State Government will take steps to provide an impetus to the leather sector.

These include setting up two tannery clusters each with a common effluent treatment plant. The Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) is the State Government's technical adviser and it will help set up two vocational training institutes.

The CLRI will also help Universities in the State introduce leather as a subject.

Plenty of raw material - skins and hides - is available in the State, according to Mr A. Sahasranamam, Principal Secretary (Industries), Jammu & Kashmir. Mr Sayeed and his team highlighted the variety of incentives available to industrialists in the State such as excise duty, Income-Tax and sales tax exemption, and capital investment subsidy. The incentive policy will be in force till March 2015, according to Mr Sahasranamam.

Mr T. Ramaswami, Director, CLRI, said that the leather industry offered tremendous employment potential, especially since the artisans and those involved in fur processing had great skills. He did not think that setting up tanneries would create environmental problems as the carrying capacity was sufficient.

Apart from the leather sector, Mr Sayeed and Mr Sahasranamam said, the K.K. Birla group has committed to set up another textile unit at a cost of Rs 560 crore, while others like the Oswal and Dhainik Bhaskar groups are also keen on setting up textile units.

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