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Key constraints hinder growth of leather sector

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 31. Certain critical constraints were holding up the growth of the leather-manufacturing sector in India, the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, S. B. Mookherjee, said today.

Inaugurating the 19th India International Leather fair 2004, at the Chennai Trade Centre here, he listed these as bottlenecks in ports, lack of technical manpower and reliance on imports for capital goods such as machinery. He said that realising that imports were now necessary for the industries to keep abreast of the market, the Government had facilitated such imports. He called upon the Central Leather Research Institute, the Footwear Design and Development Institute and other such institutions to help in creating the required technical manpower, which was a key constraint. With regard to the congestion in ports, he said the Government and the Port administrations had taken steps to tackle the problem.

Mr. Mookherjee said since the commencement of the tannery modernisation scheme in 2000, as many as 109 tanneries had availed financial assistance. Another 120 applications had been received seeking financial support. He called upon the industry to meet the challenges of the 21st Century through their marketing strategies. He said those in the industry should keep their eyes and ears open so that the finished products were in tune with the emerging market trends.

The Minister released a book on the Indian Leather Industry and also distributed the export awards for excellence for the year 2002-03, to 51 industrialists on the occasion.

The Council for Leather Exports Chairman, S. S. Kumar, said in the past decade the industry had made rapid strides and now accounted for 4 per cent of India's total exports.

The India Trade Promotion Organisation Executive Director, Ranjan Chatterjee, said 246 companies including 51 from 12 countries were taking part in the show.

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