29 - 30, January 2010

This year Dr. A.L. Mudaliar Oratorical Contest, originally instituted in 1968 at CLRI, saw participation from several schools and colleges. This was conducted on 21st of Jan. for the school students and on 22nd Jan. for the colleges. The students had to speak on topics that drew from the recent Copenhagen summit, cricket, ‘racial’ attacks in Australia, US’ Health Bill, and even on general subjects like politics, science, health and environment.
The school students were given titles of some topics and were asked to deliver a prepared speech. The topics for college students were given at random and the students had half an hour to prepare before they went on stage and presented their ideas in the allotted five minutes.
The experts judging the school students were teachers and professors from eminent schools and colleges from the city.
The judges for the colleges- writer/filmmaker Amshan Kumar, Subramanian Karthik, Head Operations, Odyssey and Sumathi Rajesh, Regional Head for Quality, Wipro, mentioned that this was a great platform for ideas and budding orators who had the potential to make a change.
LERIG two days programme started with BM DAS Memorial Lecture at 9. 00 A.M delivered by Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Peter Germann, Director, LGR Reutlingen, Germany. The topic of the lecture was “Sustainable Leather Manufacture – Realistic objective or wishful thinking?” and it was chaired by Dr G Thyagarajan, Former Director, CLRI.
He emphasised leather manufacturing is in itself ‘recycling’ – i.e. it is a sustainable solution to the disposal problem of a by-product that originates from the meat industry. The concept of ‘globalization’ in leather production has to be updated / adjusted by taking more into account additional factors like e.g. raw material sourcing that is also relevant to the subject of sustainability. Sustainability of leather manufacture can be further increased by using resources (i.e. water, fossil fuels and other natural resources) sparingly, which includes controlling the production processes and improving the systematic re-use of by-products whenever possible, and giving priority to the use of renewable resources.
His lecture received very good response from the audience (representatives of the leather industry and technologists) who gathered in large number and packed the triple helix auditorium. Media covered the whole event live. B.M.Das lecture was followed by Inaugural function. The chief guest of this function was Dr V Prakash, Director, CFTRI, Mysore.  He delivered a very lively talk on “If climate change matters to Team Leather India (TLI) then TLI shall matter more to it“. The talk was received very well by the audience. The inaugural function  started with the Welcome address by the  Director, CLRI. Release of LERIG Souvenir, presentation of MODEUROP Awards, presentation of Design Awards, presentation of Mecca hajee abdul majid sahib endowment Awards  and release of CLRI News Letter were done by Guests of honours,  Dr G Thyagarajan, Former Director, CLRI, Mr Rafeeque Ahmed, President, AISHTMA, Mr Habib Hussain, Chairman, CLE and Mr Taj Alam, Director, Kings International. The function was presided over by Dr K V Raghavan, Chairman, Research Council, CLRI.

TECHNICAL SESSION I Biology of collagen, Bio-preservation, Bio-processing (more focus on application & implementation for leather industry)
THEME: New perceptions in the understanding of biological issues related to leather and application of biophysical tools

Technical session – I began with an exciting talk by Prof. G.Dhinakar Raj who enlightened us on the various biotechnological interventions to animal skin and their implications to the leather industry. He vividly described the prophylactic measures which offer a panacea to the declining quality of hides and skin of our animals since we do not have a separate animal husbandry for leather.
The scientific journey continued with the lecture of Dr.A.Rajaram taking us into the path of surface phenomena and features crucial for the understanding of the quality of hides and also described the alternate mechanism for depilating without disrupting the strength of the hides and skin.
Scientific tempo was further exemplified by Dr.P.Gunasekaran through his lecture dealing with the biodegradation and bio-preservation of animal skin. He suggested measures for screening various micro-organisms which degrade the skin and thereby open venues to control the growth of these organisms for the maintenance of the quality of hides. He also suggested natural alternate measures to preserve the skin rather than chemical means.
The scientific session on Day I came to an end with the energetic and motivating talk by Mr.P.Saravanan suggesting an alternate enzymatic process control mechanism and thereby reducing the heated problem of pollution in the leather industry. He also clarified the immediate and urgent necessity for alternate and cleaner leather manufacturing technology in the global scenario.

Technical Session – II A
Environmental Biotechnology
Theme:  Application of environmental biotechnology to improve end-of-pipe treatment, Odour control in tanneries
Speakers:  Dr A Gangagni Rao ,  Dr L Uma
Chairman: Dr M. Mariappan, Chairman, State Expert Appraisal Committee, Tamil Nadu.

Technical Session –II B

Bio-based option for solid waste management

Theme:   Solid waste utilization and management technologies for value added products, Biodegradation of leather and life-cycle analysis for leather products

Speakers:  Mrs. Sandra Shroff, Dr S Gangopadhyay, Dr S Rajamani, Dr P Shanmugam,  Dr. J S Suresh Kumar

Chairman: Dr.K.V.Raghavan, Chairman RC, CLRI

Session II A was chaired by Dr. Mariappan, Chairman, State Expert Appraisal Committee, Tamil Nadu and II B by Dr. K.V. Raghavan, Chairman, RC, CLRI.
The day began with the scientific presentations on Environmental Biotechnology and Biobased options for solid waste management. Dr. A.Gangagni Rao from IICT delivered lecture on odour control from tanneries with emphasis on selection of various configurations in design of odour control devices. The role of Cyanobacterial antioxidants in decolorization and degradation of azo dyes was delivered by Dr. L. Uma from Barathidasan University. She explained the mechanism of degradation and enzymes involved in the process in detail.
Dr.Mariappan who chaired the session suggested that in order to address the issue of odour arising out of inorganic or organic compounds, their pH level should be varied in order that they may be released. Further, the engineering problems that would allow them to attain practical levels of application also need to be addressed.
Dr. Parameshwaran from United Phosphorous Ltd., explained the solid waste management options in chemical industries and a case study on Bharuch Landfill facility at Ankaleshwar for disposal of sludge generated from chemical industries. Mr. C. Kamaraj from CRRI, Delhi delivered his talk on solid waste utilization in road construction and presented CO2 emission reduction from cement and concrete manufacturing by using mixtures of solid wastes from tanneries. Dr. S. Rajamani, Chairman-IULTCS has given insight to audience about the technological documents prepared particularly in tannery sector. He shared his experience in solid waste management and disposal by various countries, which was appreciated by the Chairman of the Session as well as by the participants. Dr. P. Shanmugam, Scientist from CLRI delivered highly informative lecture on Hydrogen and methane production from tannery solid waste and sludge. He explained his findings on optimization of bioprocess and engineering parameters for maximum recovery of dual energy. Dr. Suresh Kumar from NITTA Gelatin, Cochin delivered his talk on the manufacturing process and applications of gelatin in various fields and regulatory requirements. He also discussed on products under development for future applications.
The session was concluded by the Chairman with his observations and future R & D activities to be taken up by researchers.

Technical Session – III
Biomechanics/ Biocomposites
Theme :  Value addition and property enhancement for leather and leather products through biological alternatives, Biomechanics in footwear and leather products, Biological issues related to REACH regulations and compliance
Speakers:  Dr V Balasubramanian, Mr Mani Shanker Almal,
Mr N N Sreejith, Dr. G Saraswathy, Dr.C Muralidharan,
Ms. Nirmala Veeraghanta

Chairman: Mr S V Kumar, Vice President, Indian Shoe Federation1.

Dr.V.Balasubramanian, Assistant Professor, IIT Madras, delivered a lecture on Biomechanics and Leather Technology-Insights and perspectives. Biomechanics is a discipline of science in which the principles of mechanics is applied to a biological (human or otherwise) system to better understand it.  There are many potential areas in the leather industry where the concepts and principles from biomechanics can be extensively used.  These can help in improving the process of identifying the ideal leather from the animal hide, new product development, improving the manufacturing process, etc.  In his work he described biomechanics of foot, which provides flexibility and stability during walking and standing and its importance in footwear design. He also described how quality and productive of the leather industry has been improved by the application of principles of Biomechanics and Human Factors.
Mr.Mani Almal, M.D, APL POLYFAB spoke on “Global warming-Global warning”
His lecture addressed the need for using ‘Natural materials’ for environment friendliness and the importance of bio-degradable materials in protecting the environment from harmful effects.
He emphasised to reduce the usage of petroleum products as for as possible and increase usage of natural and environmental friendly materials which can absorb heat & cold thereby balancing the atmosphere.
Bio alternatives for leather – renewable plant fibres: leveraging the great Indian rural potential was presented by Mr.N.N.Sreejith, M.D – ROPE (Rural opportunity Production Enterprise) His work analyses the need and relevance for promoting bio alternatives of leather from the perspectives of both the consumers and producers. It further discusses the different renewable plant fibres, which can be used as bio-alternatives for leather with their features, availabilities, product possibilities and their potential impact on the economy.
Dr.G.Saraswatihy RA, CLRI presented a paper on “Surface modified and medicated PU for application in athletic footwear”
Polyurethane finds application as insole material in footwear fabrication.The insole is the interior bottom of a shoe, which sits directly beneath the foot. Many shoes have removable insoles, and extra insoles are often added for comfort or health reasons. In her work, she has made efforts to develop new insole materials based on polyurethane having antimicrobial drug coating to control foot infection and odour. The surface modified PU sheets have hydrophilicity and drug carrying and releasing capacity. These sheets can be used as insole in therapeutic footwear / athletic footwear to control foot infection and odour.
DR.C.Muralidaran, Scientist, CLRI, spoke on Restricted substance-challenges known and unknown. His talk was very stimulating. He covered the whole range of banned substances and their implication in general and leather industry in particular. Leather industry has been facing problems due to pollution and use of banned chemicals. CLRI has been able to resolve and help them to restart their tanneries whenever there were legal implications posed by the Supreme Court or other institutions. He emphasized that process audit, redesign and strong leather analytical science linkages are essential to sustain export trade.
Ms.Nirmala Veeraghanta of SGS described about REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) objectives to achieve sound chemical management for the leather industry.


This new forum was introduced in this LERIG for the first time on request from the leather industry. The chairman of this session was Dr.K.V.Raghavan Chairman RC, CLRI. Mr.Sunil Rallan, President, International Trading Company, Chennai, Mr. S.V.Kumar, vice president, ISF, Mr.Irshad Ahmed, MD, Farida Group and Mr.Ramalingam, Dy.General Manager, TATA International Limited represented leather industry. Director CLRI, Prof. A.B. Mandal and his team of scientists represented CLRI in the forum. Several questions were raised by the leather industry and they were well defended by the scientists. These questions will form the basis for CLRI to move forward with the industry and offer solution for the same. The ideas from this forum hence forth will form the basis of LERIG 2011.


The finale of LERIG 2010 was the valedictory function which was presided over by Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Peter Germann, Director, LGR Reutlingen, Germany. Prizes were distributed to the winners of Dr. A.L. Mudaliar Oratorical Contest and poster presentations followed by High-tea.