A shoe manufacturer associated with Kanpur's leather industry for decades has taken up the task to curb pollution through his eco-friendly shoes as well as advance the cause of "Aatmanirbhar Bharat".
Rajendra Jalan has made the eco-friendly shoes out of special khadi cloth, cork-mixed rubber from Kerala, latex foam, jute and special nylon threads.
Cork, mixed with rubber, is used to make the shoe sole whereas latex foam will be used for inner sole, while Jalan is using khadi cloth to make the shoe's upper part and jute for the back support. The stitching is being done by specially-made nylon threads, and the shoe packed in a recycled paper box.
Jalan has been associated with the leather industry since 1974 after completing his chemical engineering from the city's Harcourt Butler Technological Institute. He owns two shoe units in Panki and Kanpur Dehat and his shoes are exported to the US, Spain, Germany, Australia, South America and South Korea.
About the idea of making eco-friendly shoes during the lockdown, Jalan said the global corona outbreak changed a lot of things. "People have become aware of health and environment. In such a situation, I felt that the future would be of sustainable and eco-friendly things. So, I thought of making eco-friendly shoes with fully hand-woven Khadi cloth, he said.
He contacted Additional Chief Secretary, Micro, Small, Medium Industries and Khadi and Village Industries Navneet Sehgal, who not only encouraged him but also assured of all possible help. The eco-friendly shoes which Jalan made in such a short period of time only became possible after Sehgal helped him in procuring Khadi cloth in short span of time.
Terming his venture an attempt to take up Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of creating a self-reliant India, Jalan said that he is hopeful that these shoes will get national as well as international recognition.
"This will help in promoting entrepreneurship in the country and employment opportunities will be created by promoting cottage industry," he added.
(With inputs from IANS)