Plea to allow granite quarrying

Association of Southern Stone Industries has appealed to the State government to allow them to resume granite quarrying in Madurai district, claiming that the closure of quarries for eight long years has led to job loss for more than 30,000 workers and huge revenue loss to the State and Centre.

Talking to reporters here on Thursday, its Madurai district president P. Rajasekaran said the 30,000 workers, who were directly and indirectly employed by the granite quarries, had to migrate to other States in search of jobs.

Besides, public sector banks that had given credit to the granite quarry operators were facing losses. “If we go by permit fee of ₹26 crore earned by the Tamil gadu Government in 2011-12, the State government has lost ₹208 crore and the Centre has lost ₹ 3,000 crore in foreign exchange in the last eight years,” he said.

Quoting a data of Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Mr. Rajasekaran said that for the 17 years between 1996-97 and 2012-13, Tamil Nadu’s export of granite was ₹6,808 crore among which Madurai had a share of ₹2,798 crore.

“When the total export value for 17 years was only ₹2,798 crore, the former Madurai Collector had alleged that there was a loss of ₹16,000 crore which was later estimated at around ₹13,000 crore by another committee,” he said.

Mr. Rajasekaran also complained that the huge losses were arrived at due to unscientific calculations of recovery rate. “The officials had failed to calculate the huge stocks of waste minerals dumped around. Besides, they had filed a different case based on another ground for “illegal” stocking of wastage outside the quarry permitted area, he said.

A report of Geological Survey of India had stated that the maximum recovery from granite was 35% to 40% and it would come down to less than 5% in structurally-affected areas, he said. “Going by this report, it is clear that the officials had a made wrong estimation of the recovery rate,” he said.

Stating that the Centre and State have scientific ways of calculating the quantity of granite recovery and wastages, Mr. Rajasekaran alleged that the officials had made calculations of loss to the exchequer as per their whims and fancies.

The association appealed to the State government to allow resumption of granite quarrying to help local people get work.

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