Bihar’s Untapped Potential

Highlighting the potential of Bihar to move up the value chain from a raw material center to a finished leather goods hub, the Council for Leather Exports will be submitting a comprehensive report to the commerce ministry soon.
Despite having a commendable share of 5% of the country’s total leather output, Bihar still languishes as a raw material market mainly due to lack of facilities for finished leather.
Talking to FE, CLE Executive Director K Elangovan said if Bihar aspires to become a big leather industry hub, it has to take a wholistic step by designating large areas for leather development and also set up a common effluent treatment plant (CETP). Since tanneries are extremely polluting, the state government has to ensure an ultra-modern CETP which will ensure that this aspect is taken care of, Elangovan said.

He said the employment potential that the leather industry has in the state was huge and would be in millions. If Bihar graduates to being a finished leather centre, then a single shoe factory with a production capacity of 1,000 pairs per day would be employing 5,000 people, he added. Besides, not only is there is abundant labour supply in Bihar, but also the sector is not a power—intensive one. Both the factors suit Bihar to the tee, he said.
According to the 2003 figures for the production of hide/skin, out of a total production of 23 million pieces of cattle skins, 1.32 million was from Bihar which was 5.74% of the total. And out of the 28 million pieces of buffalo skins, 1.32 million was from the state which was around 4.7%.

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