Lucknow: After a long hiatus, some 261 leather tanneries in Kanpur’s Jajmau area have started stirring to life, began removing the dust and greasing their machines, but a bigger crisis now stares at them – an acute labour shortage.

After the sudden countrywide lockdown, nearly half of the migrant labour employed in the Kanpur leather industry has left for their native places, primarily Bihar and Jharkhand. Only those workers, who are now permanently settled in Kanpur stayed back and the factories are now facing a tough challenge in restarting production after the Regional Pollution Control Board of Uttar Pradesh gave them a green signal.

Ever since first phase of lockdown was imposed all of sudden on March 23, over 261 tanneries in UP that were operating had to close down. As a result, raw material worth around Rs 250 crore, which was in the processing stage, decomposed.

The Kanpur leather industry gives employment to over 10 lakh persons — 2 lakh direct and 8 lakh indirect, including electricians, plumbers, truck loaders, tractor drivers. After the lockdown, at least 80% labourers have gone back to their hometowns. The other challenge before us is that we neither have raw leather nor repairing machines or chemicals coming from other states.

Besides, the Kanpur leather industry is witnessing a dwindling order book, both from domestic and foreign customers. The tanneries supply finished leather for a wide variety of leather goods, including shoes, upholstery, apparels etc.


Jafri, A. A., & Jafri, A. A. (2020, May 28). After Nod to Restart Production, Kanpur Tanneries Face Acute Labour, Raw Material Shortage. Retrieved from

Rawat, V. S. (2020, June 12). Post lockdown, UP green panel shuts 50% capacity of Kanpur tanneries. Retrieved from





Author: moosa.nayeem