Industry body seeks uniform granite policy

Industry body seeks uniform granite policy

The Granite industry in the country has been suffering due to the absence of a uniform national policy, the Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (FIGSI) said.

Shortage of raw materials due to non-grant of fresh leases and non-renewal of existing leases affected its growth, the trade body said.

“Stone products come under Minor Mineral Concessions  Rules, the powers rest with the respective state governments. Since each state is handling it in its own way, we are not getting a uniform policy for this industry. That’s why industry is suffering,” FIGSI President R Sekar said.

“Some states provide for a five-year lease, whereas, a few others offer 10 and even up to 20 years. In a few states there have been no renewals at all,” he said, adding “in Karnataka alone about 4,000 applications are pending since last 15 years.”

However, Sekar noted that there would be a uniform policy once the Granite Development Council, reconstituted by the Union Mines Secretary submit its report in about three months. “Once it is submitted, I think there will be uniform policy,” he added.
Sekar said there are close to one lakh leases available across the country, but due to various reasons about 60 per cent of them are operational.

Meanwhile, FIGSI will hold its international stone exhibition ‘STONA 2016’ here from February 3. The export value of stone trade is $2 billion and accounts for 2 per cent of the world trade and the domestic industry is also almost of the same size. It also observed that India exports products to over 90 countries while it imports from other countries for only process and re-export.

Sekar also suggested that importing the raw materials from Scandinavian countries or South Africa would be cheaper compared to procuring them from Rajasthan or Odisha.

Further, he appealed to the Central government to permit them to import raw materials under OGL (Open General License).

Responding to a question on exports, he said: “A global recession is underway and economic conditions are not favorable for the industry, which is facing shortage of raw materials.

The trade body added that about 15 lakh people are employed in the quarrying operations in the country and the situation has also affected creation of jobs in the sector.

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