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Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board has directed the tannery owners in the city to cease production for 15 days in the wake of the 'Megh Mela' festival. It was mutually decided to shut the tanneries of the city till Mahashivratri in a meeting on January 2, so that the effluent from the tanneries do not pollute Ganga river and harm the devotees, T U Khan, Kanpur regional director of UPPCB has said.
The closure will take place in phases starting from January 3, he said. Megh Mela is described as a mass convergence of pilgrims from different places where devotees throng Ganga river to take a holy bath on the occasion of 'Paush Pournima' which began on January 3. The tanneries will remain close till January 5 for 'Paush Pournima', January 18 to 20 for 'Mauni Avasya' and January 22-24 for 'Basant Panchami', February 1-3 for 'Magh Pournima' and February 15-17 for Mahashivratri, Khan said. The tannery owners represented by Imran Siddhiqui, director of Jajmau Tanneries Environmental Protection Association have given us in writing that work will be stopped three days before 'Paush Pournima', he said.
Siddhiqui said that the owners respected the festival and thus have decided to shut their businesses. The estimated loss for this period is about Rs 350 crore (US$55 million) as large quantity of goods from Europe and Malasiya will be pending, he said. Khan said that surprise checks will be conducted at the tanneries during these days and if any one is found to have opened its tannery, necessary action will be taken. There are 350 tanneries in the city employing around 20,000 workers.