National Tannery

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history

National Tannery was established in 1905, with active inspiration from two prominent nationalists of the time – Acharya P.C. Ray and Dr. Nil Ratan Sarkar. Its production grew during 1950s leading to opening of its footwear division in 1969. To rescue the tannery from financial difficulties, IRCI (later IRBI and presently known as IIBI) made partial investments in 1974 and finally took over the factory in 1983 but production continued at a much reduced scale. In 1991, the factory was up for auction by the order of the Calcutta High Court, which was acquired by the State Government in 1992 as a ‘going concern’. The State Government agreed to pay the workers’ dues (worth approximately Rs. 3.5 crores) but without any increment in earlier wages. The deal was accepted by the workers of the factory, who by then have de-associated with previously existing CITU and INTUC unions and have created an independent labour union named ‘National Tannery BNachao Committee’. However to this date, the State Government has only paid Rs. 65 lakhs as workers’ dues vis-à-vis the promised Rs. 3.5 crores. Under the order of the Supreme Court, after 2002 no tanneries were allowed to operate in this area. The State Government decided to dismantle the factory and the large number of machines, so that the land can be cleared up for a proposed Garments Park. The dismantling took place in 15th December 2004. The workers of the National Tannery are yet to be compensated and relocated, as necessary under the Supreme Court order.

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Information contributed by Nagarik Mancha

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