Farida group plan new Calcutta tannery

15 October 2003

The Chennai based Farida Group have acquired a 4,000 sq m plot in the Calcutta Leather Complex (CLC), making it the largest project to be housed there. M Rafeeque Ahmed, president of the group, said they would set up a tannery at CLC and later move into other levels of the value chain. Farida Group are one of the largest exporters of shoes, supplying famous brands such as Florshiem, Clarke's, Pierre Cardin and Marks and Spencer. 'This is the only planned complex for the leather industry in India and this is the place to grow business in future. We source a large part of the raw material from here and process it at the Chennai factory. Now it will be done here', Ahmed said. The group make 10-15,000 pairs of shoes per day and part of tanning capacity will be shifted to Kolkata. Ahmed did not divulge the cost of the acquisition, saying price would not deter the group from investing. An estimated cost of the land would come to around Rs7.2 million (US$155,000), given that the rate for new facilities had been fixed at Rs1,800 per sq m. The development will help boost the reputation of the CLC as Farida are the first major player to invest in the complex. The 1,100 acre complex is divided into two parts, one for relocating tanneries from the Tiljala, Topsia and Tangra and the other for new facilities. CLC, developed under the build, operate and transfer model in partnership with M L Dalmiya & Co, has run into rough weather as local tanners refused to move there. The matter was placed before the Supreme Court which ordered leather units to relocate or close down. The state government, however, did not force relocation fearing socio-political problems. Leather units and government agencies are now accusing each other of not fulfiling promises. According to latest indications, production in relocated tanneries will start only at the end of 2003. The common effluent treatment plant (CETP) and chrome recovery unit will be ready by December and production should start thereafter, one tanner said. Source: Daily 'Business Standard', New Delhi

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