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Khadi Board’s leather unit continues to languish

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 5: Established in 1956, the leather unit (Charma Udyog) of Assam Khadi & Village Industries Board located at Chandmari is one of the important industrial units of the Board. But due to utter negligence of the previous State government, this unit is now facing a bleak future. Products manufactured by the unit are not finding customers due to lack of publicity.

Sources said people in the State are not aware of products, mainly shoes and sandals, manufactured by the leather unit. “When we talk about the Khadi Board, people think it manufactures only clothes. People hardly know about the existence of its leather unit and the products it manufactures,” said the sources.

There are 45 outlets under the Assam Khadi & Village Industries Board which sell its products. Of these, only 2-3 outlets sell leather products, that too in very small quantity. “Despite good quality products manufactured by us, we don’t receive orders for large quantities due to lack of publicity,” said the sources, adding, “Scarcity of raw materials is another problem dogging our unit. We have only 2-3 suppliers supplying limited amount of raw materials to us, most of which come from Kolkata. Our orders primarily come from the Defence sector for civil employees working with them.”

The leather unit of the Assam Khadi & Village Industries Board has only one permanent and one casual employee. “On the basis of quantity of orders received by us, we hire people from outside on daily wage basis to do the work. We don’t have designers and new technology to make our products better and more competitive.”

According to sources, 1,94,940 pieces of leather products worth Rs 2,65,660 were sold between April and September 2016 by the leather unit.

In such a situation, the present BJP-led coalition government needs to take measures to make the leather unit of Assam Khadi & Village Industries Board profitable. The government should encourage the unit to adopt modern technology, so as to make quality products that can compete in the market.

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Ankur Kalita