AIGSA to raise voice for granite council policy

Bangalore, Jan 4 | Updated: Jan 5 2006, 06:24am hrs
All India Granites and Stone Association (AIGSA), apex forum for the countrys natural stone industry, has decided to raise its voice against states governments that are not adopting Granite Conservation and Development (GCD) rules notified by the government of India.

In a bid to form a common and unified legislation for granite, minor mineral, the Granite Development Council (GDC) constituted by Central Mines department has framed GCD rules, 1999, for ensuring systematic development and conservation of valuable granite areas of the country.

Talking to FE, AIGSA general secretary Anees-ur-Rehman said that the GCD rules stated that the period of granite quarry lease should be for minimum 20 years with provision for renewal. Mining lease should be granted for minimum one hectare area to maximum of 50 hectares. But a few state governments refused to follow these major recommendations, Karnataka in particular where more than 40% of the countrys granite deposits are found.

AIGSAs ex-president YR Shah said the Karnataka governments policy in leasing quarries contradicts GCD rules. Despite the existing guidelines for minimum 20 years of lease period, the Karnataka government leases quarries only for maximum of 10 years.

Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu accounts for more than 90% of granite deposits in the country. Despite brutal competition from China and South Africa, the Indian granite exports are growing at the rate of 15-20% year-on-year. But the stringent measures adopted by the state governments would stagnate the granite export growth rate this fiscal, Mr Shah maintained.

While AP and TN follow single window clearance systems for granite quarry lease, Mr Shah said that the Karnataka government has formed a committee chaired by the secretary of commerce and industries with secretaries of finance, revenue and forest and director of mines and geology as members. Moreover, royalties fixed by the state governments differ, he added.

In fact, the Karnataka government had stopped granite-mining lease in 1992 in Kollegal area that has superior quality galaxy variety deposits, due to forest brigand Veerappan menace. But even after Veerappans death, procuring and renewing quarry license in the state remains complicated, Mr Shah pointed out.

AIGSA president Munavar Pasha said that the GDC meeting chaired by secretary of mines, government of India, is expected to be convened in February. Mines department secretaries of all state governments would participate in the meeting. The AIGSA would discuss all issues related to granite quarrying in TN, Karnataka and AP in the meeting.