Andhra Pradesh Granite Industry in Dire Straits
Published in The Hindu, October 13, 2013
The district, which prospered on all fronts with the advent of granite quarry industry in the recent past, is now reeling under acute crisis as there is no demand in the national and international markets.
The district attained popularity for the Maple Red and Tan Brown varieties of granite which are cheaper in the world.
The granite industry gained popularity after China started using granite from the district for construction activity during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Initially, the granite quarries were very few and located at Odyaram of Gangadhara mandal.
Following the demand from the China and Japan, several entrepreneurs had entered the granite quarry business by investing huge amounts and opened quarries in various parts of the district.
The granite industry had done roaring business till last year when crisis hit the sector as there was no demand from the international market.
Karimnagar District Granite Owners’ Association president Rachakonda Tirupathi Goud told The Hindu on Saturday that the industry was reeling under acute crisis after China stopped purchasing granite from the district due to its new policies in the country. Already, over 2 lakh cubic metres of stocks were piled up in the China, he said.
In the last two months, around 60 per cent of the granite industry stopped production, he said and added that the granite quarry owners were struggling hard to repay bank loans and power bills as there was no business for them.
Drop in sales
He said that they used to sell every month around 60,000 to 70,000 cubic metres of granite. Now, it had come down to 10,000 cubic metres per month, he maintained.
60,000 lose jobs
The granite industry was providing employment to around 60,000 personnel, including labour force, in 187 granite quarries and around 90 granite polishing and cutting units in the district. The crisis had forced denial of employment to several thousands of labour, he complained.
He urged the government to bail out the industry by reducing the royalty tax by at least 50 per cent.
At present, the granite industry was paying Rs. 1,750 per cubic metre as royalty tax, he said and also appealed to the government to reduce the power tariff to the industry.