The Supreme Court has set October 31 as the deadline for completing the first phase of the Calcutta leather complex. The court said that if the time limit was not observed, strict action would be taken against the contractor, M L Dalmiya and Co.

While 216 units have begun the construction of their factories, infrastructure like water, power and telephones are still not in place everywhere.

The 1,100 acre plot is being developed to relocate the leather units operating in the heart of the city and to accommodate new ones.

Several leather units from Tamil Nadu have shown interest in setting up their factories in the new complex. The Supreme Court had imposed strict rules for the operation of leather units in Vellore some years ago.

The project will be built in three stages. Eight zones are almost ready and three more are yet to be developed.

The complex will have a Rs96 crore central effluent treatment plant, apart from individual treatment plants, shoe factories, and a permanent leather exhibition. The complex is intended to house 500 tanneries. In 1996, the Supreme Court ordered all tanneries operating in the residential complexes of Calcutta to close down. The vacated area will be developed as a green area for the metropolis.