Maharashtra beef ban will not affect Dharavi leather trade | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra beef ban will not affect Dharavi leather trade

Contrary to recent reports, the Maharashtra government’s decision to extend the ban on cow slaughter to bulls is not likely to affect the Dharavi leather trade much.

mumbai Updated: Mar 12, 2015 21:00 IST
Swati Goel Sharma

Contrary to recent reports, the Maharashtra government’s decision to extend the ban on cow slaughter to bulls is not likely to affect the Dharavi leather trade much. Leather goods manufactures, wholesale traders and trade association members say the industry already sources most of the processed leather from other states, and the small quantity of hides and skins processed at a handful of local tanneries would hit the trade only marginally.

Leather product manufacturers said while the price of leather will go up across the country because of the ban in Maharashtra, the Dharavi leather trade will not be severely affected. Dharavi’s leather business is considered the backbone of the slum’s informal economy.

Manohar Raybage, president of Leather Goods Manufacturing Association, said, “About 80% of processed leather is bought from cities such as Kolkata, Kanpur and Chennai. Raw hides and skins processed at local tanneries come mainly from goats and sheep.”

Dharavi sources 25,000-35,000 processed leather sheets from other states, prices of which range between Rs 80 per foot and Rs 100 per foot, an association member said.

Gopi Maruti, whose family has been running a tannery for several generations, said that local processing of raw hides has also gone down considerably over the years, and tanneries are increasingly involved in the finishing process — polishing, colouring, dyeing, and retail.

Once home to around 50 tanneries, Dharavi now has only four, after the government banned most set-ups in 1996 because of pollution concerns.

Chandrakant Hajare, who has been running a leather-finishing workshop, along with a retail unit, called Kanchan Leather near 90 feet Road for three decades, said there is no reason for panic. “Leather trade at Dharavi is battling a number of issues like shortage of labour, competition from cheaper Chinese goods and a general decline in demand, but this ban is not one of them,” he said.

Uwaid Khan, a wholesale trader of finished leather and owner of Dharavi Traders, said that while he was concerned about the availability of beef for his dietary needs, he does not expect his business to be hit. “If price of leather rises, the effect will be distributed across the country. I am not expecting more than a 10% hike in the price in which I buy the processed leather.”

While leather product dealers feel business at Dharavi will not be affected, the slaughter business in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra will be affected. The bulk of the cattle hide produced in the state are from city’s Deonar abattoir (which supplies around 450 hides a day, according to abattoir managers) and the ban will lead to a shortage in the national market, said Raybage. “This will lead to an overall increase in the price of raw hides, but the effect will be distributed nationally,” he said.

Abdul Rasul of Novelty bags and Wallers said the most hit would be butchers, beef traders and those involved in the transportation of hides to other states. “I think leather-processing units in Chennai and Kolkata would also be affected,” he said.