Jalandhar’s tanning district could disappear. The pandemic, the lockdown, lack of personnel and pollution have destroyed most of the Indian Businesses in Punjab. During these uncertain times, traders of raw hides became the first victims. While these traders close down their businesses, raw material for tanning rots inside warehouses.
Traders of raw hides are the first victims
Many workers returned to their villages during the months of lockdown: once the tanneries closed down they weren’t receiving any salary. Meanwhile, raw hides stored in warehouses have started to deteriorate, becoming useless and impossible to sell. So, many entrepreneurs decided to give up, like Bihari Lal Kler, who started a new job and closed down his family company which had been open since 1947. The Indian entrepreneur told thewire.in the story of his tannery, and of how to survive this crisis he converted into an auto-repair shop. “That’s how I survive – he explains -. The workshop has some clients, but all other activities of mine are ruined. I was able to keep my doors open for a few buyers but now it’s just a way to let the smell of the rotting hides out, as they have been here for 3 months”.
The district’s crisis began much sooner than the arrival of Covid-19. On October 28th 2019, Punjab’s tribunal imposed a forced shutdown of all 200 tanneries located in Jalandhar, due to alleged environmental violations and water pollution. The pandemic-caused lockdown did nothing but make matters worse, as about 2,000 workers moved back to their villages. The next review from the government is scheduled to take place in mid-July and those that are still standing are hoping to reopen their doors.