Kolkata, Dec 12: The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to close down all tanneries in the metropolis by Wednesday in accordance with a Supreme Court order of 1997. A division bench comprising Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice S Banerjee directed the Kolkata Police Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, South 24 Parganas, to assist the administration in closing down nearly 70 tanneries still operating in Tiljala and Tangra areas in east Kolkata.
The court-appointed special officer and senior counsel Jaideep Kar submitted his report after inspecting the localities. A leather complex was set up at Bantala in South 24 Parganas district to house all tanneries in the city some years ago to prevent pollution in residential areas. Petitioner Maqbool Ahmed, a resident of Tiljala, had claimed on December five that the 1997 order of Supreme Court to shift the tanneries to the leather complex had not been carried out. The petitioner had also annexed a letter by the chairman of the state Pollution Control Board of June 19 this year to the West Bengal chief secretary that the apex court order was being violated and several tanneries were yet to shift to the complex.
Advocate General Balai Roy submitted that despite the Supreme Court order to shift the tanneries to the leather complex at Bantala, around 70 of them were still operating by using domestic water and power connections illegally. After raids, they simply shifted to some other place in the locality and continued to function, he said.