Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Excellent Facility for Fairs and Conclaves

By V.M. Khaleelur Rahman


The Ambur Trade Centre (ATC) inaugurated here last July is proving to be an excellent facility for organization of leather and leather goods fair. The fully air-conditioned complex which has a floor space area of nearly 40,000 sq. feet has begun hosting leather related exhibitions, conferences and events.

The Centre constructed at the cost of Rs.11.5 crore with the initiative by the Ambur Economic Development Organisation (Aedol) Chairman Mr. Mecca Rafeeque Ahmed is playing an important role for the development of the leather and leather products industry. The very first two-day Exhibition of Footwear Components, Accessories & Finished Leather was held in the premises in soon after inauguration of the Centre last year. It was built under the aegis of Ambur Economic Development Organisation (AEDOL) with contributions from the Government of India and the Industry and was inaugurated by Mr. K. Alauddin, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. Besides convention centre, conference hall, training and testing centres, e-readiness centre, it has guest rooms for the visiting entrepreneurs and overseas customers.

The Aedol is a joint venture by Vanitec and Amburtec, the two organizations that look after the recycling of effluents from the tanneries in Vaniyambadi and Ambur, two towns hosting several tanneries, leather finishing units and factories producing leather goods and shoes. The Government of India sanctioned Rs.67.33 crore with its subsidy of Rs.43.93 crore for the two projects. The two towns are situated around 200 kms west of Chennai.

Vellore district of Tamil Nadu hosts clusters manufacturing a wide range of leather and leather products as per international standards. They provide direct employment to more than 60,000 people and indirect employment to another 30,000 people mostly from the economically weaker sections of the rural society. They export material worth about Rs.3,500 crore annually. This apart they also meet a sizeable domestic demand within the country.

According to Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed, Ambur, one of the major leather clusters in Tamil Nadu which has been recognized as “Town of Export Excellence“ for leather products will get additional support and incentives for the development of the industry to enable it to increase its exports. (VMK in Islamic Voice, March 2011)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


It is learnt that applications are available at all Haj committees for Haj 2011. Those who want to perform Haj during this year are requested to submit their applications. Applications can be submitted from 16th April to 30th April 2011.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


After reading the letter of Mr. A. Faizur Rahman under heading "Shun Intolerance" in The Hindu dated 5th March 2010, I viewed the you tube video ( referred to by him. In my opinion the writer has distorted what Dr. Zakir Naik answered to a question and blamed him.It is not fair. Dr. Zakir Naik did not interpret anything at all. One also feels that publication of such letters will not serve any purpose. The Hindu is a secular and national daily reputed for its careful coverage of news and views. It should not have published this letter. You can yourself view the video and decide. Mr. A. Faizur Rahman is not correct in blaming Dr. Zakir Naik on this issue.

                                        V.M. Khaleelur Rahman,

I entirely agree with Kasim Sait (Letters, March 4) when he says that the contrarian view of intolerance in Islam is strengthened by interpretations of televangelists such as Zakir Naik. According to Naik, a renegade from Islam who converts to another religion should be killed if he propagates that religion because it amounts to “causing corruption”, “spreading things which are unpeaceful” and hence, treason (,

The truth is that there is absolutely nothing in the Koran or the authentic teachings of the Prophet that supports Zakir Naik's definition of treason. Preachers like him need to be reminded of the Prophet's warning; eeyakum wal ghulu fiddeen, fa innahu ahlaka man kaana qablakum al ghulu fiddeen which translates as; “Eschew extremism in religion, for extremism has destroyed its practitioners in the past (Ibn Maaja).”

A. Faizur Rahman



V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

Although there is no dearth of leather fairs on international level, it is only 4 or 5 fairs which are considered the most important and worth participating every year. The India International Leather Fair (IILF) is one of them. The 26th IILF 2011 held from 31st January to 3rd February 2011 with a gala inauguration by Mr. Virbhadra Singh, the hon’ble Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India and presided over by Dr. Subas Pani, Chairman & Managing Director, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at the Chennai Trade Centre in Chennai was a well improved and well organized one with approximately 18,000 sq.mts. gross area and over 400 exhibitors from home and abroad with all their glittering paraphernalia.

Mr. Salman Khurshid, Hon’ble Union Minister of Water Resources and Minority Affairs, Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports, Dr. Rahul Khullar, Commerce Secretary, Government of India and Mr. Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Government of India, Mr. A.B. Mandal, Director, Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai, Mr. Ali Ahmed Khan, Executive Director, Council for Leather Exports, Chennai were among the dignitaries present on the dais and spoke on the occasion.

Mr. Mandal stressed the need for achieving global leadership by utilizing our country India’s abundant resources in terms of skilled manpower, raw material, design techniques, entrepreneurial skills and investing substantially in the tanning sector for implementing modernization schemes, improving productivity and rationalizing labour policies. Mr. Ali Ahmed Khan explained that the Council had been taking a lot of market promotion efforts to increase India’s share in the global leather trade and had been actively promoting Buyer-Seller meets at various locations worldwide.

The hon’ble Ministers Mr. Virbhadra Singh and Mr. Salman Khurshid assured the leather industry of their “supportive measures” to make it more competitive in the world market. Dr. Subas Pani said that the leather industry should attain the status like the software and auto sectors.

The CLE Chairman, Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed was felicitated in the function for the prestigious Padma Shri award conferred on him. Mr. M. Mohammed Hashim, an industrialist and former Chairman, Council for Leather Exports who delivered the felicitation address paid high tributes to him and said that he deserved it well for his excellent service for the development of the leather industry. The audience cheered the Padma Shri awardee with a standing ovation.

Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed expressed his thanks for the felicitation and said that the leather and leather products registered consistent growth in the past several years and reached US$ 3.40 billion during 2009-10 recording cumulative growth rate of about 5.43% in last 5 years. He was optimistic of the industry having the potential to achieve the turnover target of $8.25 billion by 2013-14 if the government extended additional support in necessary areas. He talked about the necessity of “mega leather clusters” on the lines of those in the handloom and power loom sectors and constituting a Rs.100 crore corpus for skill upgrade in the leather sector.

Mr. S.M. Shahid of M/s. Zam Zam Tanners, Kanpur was specially honoured with the “Doyen of Leather Industry Award” for his contribution towards development of Indian leather industry.

A total of 62 member-exporters belonging to the leather and leather products and other categories were honoured for their export performance for the year 2009-10. The hon’ble Ministers Mr. Virbhadra Singh and Mr. Salman Khurshid presented the Awards to them.

The seminars organized by the IFLMEA and CLE on the following subjects were useful to the participants.

1. Brand Building through Design

2. Carbon Footprint

3. Environmental Audit

4. Sustainable Leather Management

5. New Development in Antifungal Process

6. Is it time to measure time? – Introducing work measurement-improving efficiency and

7. Process Innovations & Lean Six Sigma to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

There were mostly overseas exporters of leather, chemicals, machinery and equipment among the exhibitors. Many Chennai based leading exporters of leather and leather products were conspicuous by their absence for the reasons best known to them. However the forthcoming APLF-MM&T fair to be held at Hong Kong from 30th March to 1st April 2011 will attract these and many more exporters as usual. Many are getting ready to participate in it. It is the wish of many tanners that the IILF should achieve the status the Hong Kong and Paris fairs have got.

No doubt the fair provided an excellent opportunity for the visitors and participants to meet, discuss and plan their marketing and development strategies in accordance with the demand of the present time. Although it was interesting, charming and entertaining, it looked like a routine affair – a stereotype - without any new additions. Everything was on expected lines. Many in the industry feel that the organizers would do well to:

1. attract more leather and leather products importing companies to the fair as in the cases of the Hong Kong and Paris fairs, if necessary with some attractive offers.

2. initiate some Indian cultural programmes in the evening to entertain visitors and participants from different countries and also to highlight the rich cultural heritage of our country.

3. arrange a valedictory function with a detailed report of the fair.

to make the IILF more glamorous and beneficial for all sections of the people.

(VMK in Indian Leather, March 2011 issue)



Editorial: Women’s Day

While the government can change the rules, it cannot change the attitudes of a people

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day — and, as readers will have noticed, Arab News is observing it.

Why so? Because men control the world and its resources. Women do not. International Women’s Day was founded to focus on an end to discrimination, to ensure the rights of women to be trained, work (and in any job they chose), vote, have public office and have a voice that is heard and respected.

That International Women’s Day is still being observed is because discrimination has not ended. That is certainly the case in Saudi Arabia, despite the claims of some that women have full rights in the Kingdom. They do not. Just read Somayya Jabarti’s musings on this page. In the US and Europe, women complain that they are kept out of the decision-making at top level; they want to beak through the glass ceiling. In Saudi Arabia, they are still trying to get a foot through the door on the ground floor.

The discrimination is not just wrong, it is also wasteful. Half the country’s brains and talents are being ignored.

Some justify denying women the right to drive or work on the grounds that they need to be protected. Protected from whom? If from men, the answer is to punish those men who would abuse them. Others justify it in terms of Islam. Yet Khadija, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a successful businesswoman. She was his support. Those who reject women in business effectively challenge the Sunnah of the Prophet. But they apparently think themselves better and wiser Muslims than those in the rest of the Muslim world where women drive, run businesses without a male guardian, enter politics, become ministers.

The objection is not based in Islam, it is based in outmoded cultural traditions.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is a key supporter of improving women’s role in Saudi society. New women’s universities and colleges are springing up. Women are being provided ever more work opportunities; a woman minister has been appointed; women are entering the diplomatic service. But while the government can change the rules, it cannot change attitudes. That is something Saudis must do themselves. The fact is that while men increasingly want a wife who works and brings in an income, too many want one who will simply hand it over but still play the submissive wife.

Just as in Europe and America 100 years ago, there are even Saudi women opposed to change, who fear that change will threaten the one area where they have power —the home.

Women need to empower themselves and start thinking in terms of entitlement. A couple of years ago, at a business forum in the Kingdom, a male speaker refused to give his address until the women in the audience removed themselves. They meekly got up and left. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if they had stayed put.

That is why Women’s Day is important. Its prime purpose is not to celebrate women or their achievements. It is there to focus attention on what women could achieve if they had the right or the ability to do so. When the discrimination finally goes, that will be the time to celebrate, the time that International Women’s Day becomes redundant.

We are nowhere near that yet.

(Courtesy: Arab News)