Kanpur, the erstwhile ‘Manchester of the East’, the nickname it had earned during the British Raj owing to flourishing textile mills in the city, is today a pale shadow of its glorious past.
The closure of textile mills over the past decades coupled with the utter failure of the city to keep pace with haphazard and explosive urbanisation is the stark reality staring in its face even as other towns in Uttar Pradesh emerged on the landscape and developed as the most preferred industrial and economic zones.
However, the Yogi Adityanath government is now looking at reviving the old glory of Kanpur, which was once UP’s premier industrial town and held place of pride in the entire North India.
The state government is taking steps to revive the defunct and sick textile mills in Kanpur, especially Lal Imli unit, which is owned by central government utility British India Corporation (BIC). Lal Imli once produced the finest range of woolen textiles and garments, reckoned not only in India but abroad as well, before it fell out of grace.
UP industry minister Satish Mahana, who himself hails from Kanpur, has said the state government was committed to reviving the glorious industrial past of the town. Yesterday, he held a meeting to discuss the proposal to revive BIC and National Textiles Corporation (NTC) mills. He said UP was proactively taking up the matter of Lal Imli unit with the Centre even as he directed state officials to personally confabulate with their central government counterparts to expedite the matter.
Mahana underlined while the government was promoting new investment and new units in UP, the sick entities were also being revived. He said a definite roadmap for restarting the NTC and BIC textile mills would be prepared by the central and state officials, which was expected to send out a positive signal to the investor community and further spur industrialisation.
About a dozen textile mills of NTC and BIC had ceased their operations in Kanpur around two decades back. Successive attempts to revive them with central package of almost Rs 5 billion have so far come a cropper.
These defunct mills are located in the most prime locations of Kanpur viz. Civil Lines, Kidwai Nagar, Fazalganj etc. The machinery of some of the defunct units have been scrapped and they merely stand as barren stretch of land. Owing to unbridled horizontal growth, these mills over time got surrounded with haphazard human settlements around it. As Kanpur failed to keep pace with peers in civic infrastructure, the sustainability of mills also suffered irreparably. The local hosiery industry has been demanding that the government utilised the vast land infrastructure of NTC to resettle the ancillary units, especially small stitching factories, which are scattered throughout the main city pockets.