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Oscar sees no wrong in raw granite imports for value addition

Posted on Jan 31, 11:34AM | UNI

New Delhi, Jan 30 : Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes today said that the Government could not find fault with the demand of the granite exporters to allow raw granite into the country and re-export the same material with value addition.

Inaugurating the First World Stone Congress here, Mr Fernandes, who handled Labour Ministry in UPA I; said the demand of Capexil Chairman and noted industrialist R Veeramani seeking the Government to allow raw granite imports for enabling the industry and its labour to undertake value addition was justified. 'I don't think any Commerce Minister will have objection to this demand and I can assure you people that the demand will be considered in the right spirits as it is the country and its labour that will gain', he said.

He said it was from Mangalore port India started its raw granite exports in the 70s and the scenario had changed with the induction of latest technology. Now only cut and polished granites slabs are being exported.

Mr Fernandes asked the industry to find if thin granite slabs could be a substitute for painting of walls in the buildings doing away with recurring expenses and make the buildings maintenance free. The availability of economical diamond tools from China had brought down the costs and it should be used to the country's advantage.

Mr Veeramani in his address said that the global economic slow down especially the US and European Union have had direct bearing on the granite exports from China and India. These countries will have to look for domestic markets for market expansion.

Huge price cuts and quick deliveries of the orders on one hand had propelled China as the No 1 exporter and India too could be in the same league with proper governmental support. The industry had emerged as the largest provider of jobs after the agriculture sector.

India, he said was the largest producer of natural stones with 35,342 million tonnes followed by China 31,000 MT. However, when it comes to exports, China stood at 16 MT worth 3.04 million dollars as compared to India's 500 million dollars.

Delegates from several countries including Turkey, Brazil and Italy are taking part in the Stone Congress.