‘Manchester of the East’: UP to revive lost glory of Kanpur
In three years, the UP government has received 23 proposals for setting up industries in the Kanpur region, which is estimated to generate employment avenues for 7,000 people and bring in investment to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore. Of the 23 investment proposals, 11 have already seen the light of the day
The bustling industrial town of Kanpur, once referred to as the ‘Manchester of the East’ owing to its thriving textile mills, is a pale shadow of its glorious past.
Whilst a majority of the marquee textile units have long been shut, the dusty roads and bylanes are today witness to the beleaguered hosiery plants, trying desperately to compete with the cheap imports from China and stay afloat.
Over the decades, Kanpur also lost out to peers in the technological and ecological matrix. With increasing pollution and technological shift in the global and domestic textile industry coupled with the gross neglect under the previous regimes, the industrial town gradually was nothing but crestfallen in the manufacturing ranking.
Nonetheless, the Uttar Pradesh government is beginning to take steps to retrieve Kanpur out of the rut and revive its old glory while nurturing the green industry norms of the modern manufacturing landscape.
Considering that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is personally seized of the matter, the city is expected to be humming with intense industrial activity, with some big industry actors evincing interest in setting up units in and around Kanpur pertaining to textile and other segments.
For instance, a Mega Leather Park is being built spread over 235 acres in Kanpur. It is part of the Mega Leather Cluster Project estimated to provide employment to 50,000 people and attract investment of Rs 5,850 crore. It will act as a catalyst in resurrecting the Kanpur brand as a major industrial hub of Northern India.
The proposed Park, first of its kind in India, will be built at Ramaipur village of Kanpur. The union ministry of commerce has already given its consent to the project. It is expected to pitch Kanpur among the top 10 big leather manufacturing hubs of the country, and generate 50,000 and 150,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.
According to officials, more than 150 tanneries will be housed inside the Park, which will facilitate manufacturing of world class leather shoes, purses and jackets for the domestic as well as export markets.
Situated on the banks of river Ganga, Kanpur is still reckoned for textile and leather industry. During the British rule, the city was dotted with a number of export units, some of which, especially in the leather processing industry, have managed, painfully though, to retain their competitive edge despite cut throat competition.
After taking over reins of power in March 2017, CM Adityanath had set in motion a composite revival action plan for Kanpur, which included the vision of the Mega Leather Park. Soon thereafter, proposals were received from industrialists for setting up units. The government agencies promptly streamlined the investment process.
According to the UP industrial development department, the fresh policy changes have encouraged entrepreneurs to set up shop in Kanpur across different sectors, including textile.
In three years, the UP government has received 23 proposals for setting up industries in the Kanpur region, which is estimated to generate employment avenues for 7,000 people and bring in investment to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore. Of the 23 investment proposals, 11 have already seen the light of the day.
RP Polypacks and Kanpur Plastics Limited have set up textile factories in Kanpur City and Kanpur Dehat districts at the cost of Rs 150 crore Rs 200 crore respectively. The units have already started commercial production.
Similarly, Sparsh India Private Limited has invested Rs 600 crore to develop a plastic factory in Kanpur Dehat. Rimjhim Steel Company is building a steel rolling mill in Kanpur Dehat at the cost of Rs 550 crore.
Besides, to promote non-polluting industries, the UP government is working out the flatted factory concept, wherein manufacturing units are set up in multi-storied buildings in the industrial hubs, including Kanpur.
(Virendra Singh Rawat is a Lucknow based journalist, who writes on contemporary issues of industry, economy, agriculture, infrastructure, budget etc)