Relatives and longtime friends began gathering at Captain Shubham Gupta's house shortly after the awful news came, shock and anguish evident in their hearts.
Shoe factories in Agra are on a warpath protesting the imposition of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification.
The shoe units observed a total shutdown on Monday and the owners held a series of meetings on Tuesday.
“We all strongly oppose the BIS imposition and are unable to apply it on our own made shoes,” factory owners said.
Most of the industries in Agra produce hand-made shoes and as these shoes are mostly made in small and cottage industry units, it is not possible to impose these rules here, the protesters said.
“This is my request and demand from our government that BIS should be removed from handmade footwear,” a shoe manufacturer said.
An association’s representatives said: “We demand that this is not just a shoe, it is the livelihood of millions of families who make it in small houses and this is the source of their livelihood. Our demand is that micro And the small MSME units that make shoes for the common man should be kept free from BIS.”
The leather shoe industry in Agra is centuries old and takes care of more than 50 per cent of the country’s needs.
The smaller units want “no arbitrary imposition” of standards, as the certification would add to the costs, and thus make their existence difficult in a highly competitive market. Industry sources claim that more than three lakh workers are dependent on this industry.
According to an official, the BIS certification is issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in India.
Agra city is the biggest hub of leather shoe industries in India and exports a major chunk of its production. More than 80 per cent of all shoes for the Armed Forces and paramilitary agencies are manufactured in Agra.