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Granite producers seek review of policy

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The All India Granites and Stone Association (AIGSA) has demanded that the Union Government “immediately review” the existing policy on imports of rough marble and granite.

Addressing the media on Thursday, J.B. Surana, president, AIGSA, said, “The restrictive policy, exemplified by the issuance of licenses to only a handful of marble quarry owners, mainly in Rajasthan, has only benefited exporters.”

Alleging that licenses for the import of granite and marble blocks are being “traded in the black market for Rs. 10,000 a tonne,” Mr. Surana said that a large number of Indian entities, which aim to add economic value, are deprived of the essential raw material.

He said that “the quota system is arbitrary although annual Indian stone exports are valued at least Rs. 6,000 crore.”

Most of the licenses are issued by the Commerce Ministry and by the Director General of Foreign Trade, he said.

Mr. Surana pointed out that marble exports accounted for about 60 per cent of Indian exports of stones.

Arguing that the eligibility criteria for licenses are based on “arbitrary” parameters, Mr. Surana demanded that the Union Government “evolve a broad-based national policy fair to all sections of the industry”.

He urged the Government to put rough granite and marble — termed “dimensional blocks” in industry parlance — in the open general licence (OGL) list so that imports would be freed from arbitrary restrictions.

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