Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry seeks policy support from govt, long-term quarry lease

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Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (FIGSI), an association to promote the natural stones of India domestically and internationally, has presented a charter and discussed ‘Challenges and opportunities of Dimensional Stone Industry’ with the Karnataka government in the presence of government officials from the department of Mines, Revenue and Environment.

The body organized a seminar on Wednesday at ITC Windsor to find solutions to issues and bring back the industry on the growth path.

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Minister for Mines and Geology Achar Halappa Basappa said, “Karnataka is endowed with rich mineral resources and blessed with different kinds of world-famous granite stones. Jet Black Granite, Himalayan Blue, Likal Pink, Green Granite, Gray Granite and Multicolour granite are important rocks which are used for decorative purpose all over the world.”

“I am hopeful that this seminar will be helpful in resolving the difficulties faced by the granite industry and this Industry will create more employment opportunities and play a vital role in enhancing the State’s revenue. If there is a need to resolve any issues in procedural aspects, government will take necessary steps to simplify the procedures and ease difficulties, if any to avoid unnecessary delay,” said Achar Halappa.

“India is the second largest deposit of natural stones in the world with 15% of the world’s reserves which is about 46.23 billion cubic meters. India also stands in 4th position in the natural stone trade in the world. The total number of people employed in the trade in India is about 1.5 million. Considering all these benefits, FIGSI seeks the support from the State government to promote and give fillip to the the industry,” said Ishwinder Singh, President, Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry.

Due to constant effort of FIGSI, there has been huge development in mining and processing sector. Today stone industry is exporting about 80% in the form of finished goods after value addition. Now the Indian industry has acquired the state-of-the-art of technology which is on a par with other countries and our products are well accepted all over the world and are being used in many big projects. India is exporting to more than 90 countries across the globe.

Addressing the officials, S Krishna Prasad, General Secretary, FIGSI, said, “The need of the hour is to allow free import of Granite also under OGL to mitigate the problem of shortage of raw material. Due to the closure of most of the quarries in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as per the State government policy decisions, the processing units are importing marble under OGL and EOU’S are importing both marble and granite blocks to overcome the shortage of supplies.”

The FIGSI also sought simplification of the environment clearance certificate procedure. “Environmental protection is now mandatory for every quarrying activity since we have to obtain an Environmental clearance certificate and have to follow the conditions laid down in the E/C. We request the government to simplify the procedure to obtain environment clearance,” he said.

There were discussions held with the state government in association with the state federation FKGQSI . The processing sector has developed very well in the last 10 years. The processing units have been setup in almost all the districts where quarrying activities takes place, since it is easy to procure the raw material. Today, India is exporting more than 80% of the stone products in value added form to more than 90 countries all over the world.

The policy support from government which the industry requires is long term quarry lease ranging from 30-50 years with guaranteed renewals instead of auctioning the quarries. Royalties to be reduced to match with global rates of 3 to 4 percent. The grant of quarry leases in a time bound manner within 90-120 days. Import of granite blocks to be brought under OGL (open general license).

Also reduce GST to 5% on blocks and 12% on slabs and Tiles. The Royalty collection to be outsourced to avoid illegal transport of blocks. Environment clearance condition to be simplified. Recovery percentage for saleable blocks to be rationalized.

The challenges faced currently is the competition from other countries like China, Turkey, Brazil, Iran etc. Also competition from other similar products like quartz, ceramic, porcelain, glass etc.

Source: www.thehansindia.com