Indian exporters see Bangladesh is benefiting from the ban on cattle slaughter in India. On Friday, India banned sale of cattle for slaughter, a move it said was aimed at preventing cruelty towards animals, curbing illegal trade and smuggling of animals. While it has stirred up a political storm, the decision caused uncertainties in the meat and leather export sectors, where India is one of the largest players. In fiscal 2016, India had earned nearly $6 billion from leather exports, show government figures, according to a report on the www.economictimes.indiatimes.com. Brands such as Zara, Marks & Spencer, Prada, Hugo Boss and Armani, or their agents, have started contacting suppliers in India, enquiring whether they would be able to meet their commitments on supplying footwear, handbags, jackets, belts and other products. The suppliers, many of them running small scale units, fear the Indian government move will cause a big hole in India’s $13 billion-a-year leather industry, as a chunk of the business may shift to Bangladesh or they may have to spend more to import raw material. “An important agent from Spain, who sources finished leather for shoes for Zara, had called me last Friday enquiring whether I have enough stock for long-term commitment and how can I ensure supply in the backdrop of the recent government order,” said Mohammad Zia Nafis, MD, Zia Hide Skin Agency. “I have also received calls from Marks & Spencer for whom we supply finished leather for shoes,” he said. Ramesh Juneja, the eastern regional chairman of the Council of Leather Exports, said exporters in the region have been flooded with calls from Italian intermediaries in Solofra and Florence, who work for brands such as Prada and Gucci. “They all want to know whether the supply will remain normal after the Centre’s recent notification,” Juneja said.Prada, Armani and Hugo Boss directly source leather bags for men and women from Kolkata exporters, Juneja said. “I supply to Mango and we may too get a call shortly.” Juneja said if the supply side dries up, the industry may have to import leather.