Bengaluru, 8th Jan, 2018:
“Seminar cum Interactive Session on Problems faced by the Dimensional & Decorative Stone Quarrying and Processing Industry” on 08.01.2019 at Hotel Le-Meridien, Bengaluru.
Recommendations based on the technical papers presented in the seminar and on the discussion had in the interactive session with the officials. The following are the recommendations pertaining to each sector and State :-
1) QUARRYING SECTOR
FIGSI Seminar-2019 resolves that Ministry of Commerce and Industry in association with Ministry of Mines and Finance should declare long pending Granite and Natural stone quarrying sector’s demand that the Granite quarrying be bestowed with “industry Status”.
2) FIGSI Seminar-2019 resolves that Granite and Natural Stone should be given a special mineral status.
3) FIGSI Seminar-2019 resolves that GCDR 1999 should be amended expeditiously as per the recommendation of GDC Subcommittee .
4) The thumb Rule in mineral parlance is One can auction any mineral only when it is prospectable. One can’t assess and value estimate the reserves of granite, therefore, can’t be auctioned like any other extractive mineral. Granite is identified, prospected, promoted and marketed by the entrepreneur only and therefore kept out of auction route. Auctioning ornamental granite deposits may not be prudent and lead to litigations.
5) Interdepartmental Co Ordination Committee should be formed at both State and Central levels to review the issues periodically.
6) Wastage dumped outside the leased area to be regularised by making earmarked area formed on cluster basis or on individually which may not be contiguous. Waste disposal should be made mandatory by issuing corrigendum to the original notification by incorporating M-Sand and building stone along with the decorative stone.
7) DMF to be fixed at 10% on royalty and proper utilisation of DMF Funds i the affected areas to be ensured by both the State and Central Governments.
8) The Government should take steps to simplify the conditions imposed in the environmental clearance to suit the requirement of natural stone which is less in extent.
9) Environmental clearance issues for stone mining off late has become a major issue in various states. The seminar recommends creation of separate SEIAA for mining in view of the large pendency of violation files and new EC applications. SEIAA should have an authority to clear upto 100 hectares instead of the current 50 hectares in respect of both individual and cluster of leases.
10) That expenditure towards EIA should be split equally by the stakeholders and also by the fund from DMF from the concerned districts. Above all, laws governing the environmental clearances should be made robust and allowed to be consistent over a period of time so that the changes should not affect the mining .
11) The State Governments should correspond with the Union Minister, Ministry of Labour in simplifying the regulations for a dimensional block quarry which is smaller in extent.
12) Both the State and Central Governments shall take FIGSI on the board whenever policy issues are discussed.
2. PROCESSING SECTOR
1) The processing sector is facing serious raw material shortage due to on issuance of fresh leases, legal complications and non issue of environmental clearance in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Therefore, fresh leases are required to be issued and leases which have not been issued environmental clearances should be expedited by State and Central Governments to overcome the shortage of raw materials.
2) The royalty rates on dimensional blocks have increased abnormally which is increasing the cost of finished goods. In order to be competitive in international market the royalty rates should be uniform in all the states as per international standards.
3) EOU’s should be treated on par with SEZ’s under GST. EOU’s should not be given step motherly treatment in comparison to SEZ’s.
4) The duty should be increased on import of finished goods like slabs to protect the domestic industry and create more job opportunities. The import duty should be brought to bare minimum to facilitate the growth of processing industry.
5) Currently, EOU’s are restricted to sell marble slabs under DTA whereas no such restrictions are there on any other products and hence all EOU’s should be allowed to sell second product as per the norms prescribed for EOU’s policy under Section 6.08. The word “marble” should be deleted from the policy. This will help:
a. To increase export by value addition.
b. To meet the shortage of raw material.
3. SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATION IN RESPECT OF QUARRYING SECTOR OF KARNATAKA
1) Issue of recovery percentage from granite quarries to be calculated on actual and the predetermined recovery factor should not have any relevance in estimation of royalty. Minor minerals are natural in nature. Recovery cannot be guaranteed. Assessing value and recovery of ornamental granite deposit is difficult in the absence of establishes figures on recover. Therefore, 1/10th of royalty amount in advance from the lessees should not be collected by the Department in the State of Karnataka.
2) Patta land owners are the owners of the subsoil minerals. Therefore additional royalty should not be collected from them as the royalty is being collected upfront by the Government before issuing the Mineral dispatch permits in the State of Karnataka.
3) Deemed extension to 30 years need to be done to accommodate existing leases at the earliest as per the amendment dated 12/08/2016.
4) Saved applications have to be looked into on top priority, the time requires to be extended as the no objection certificates have already been received by the Department.
5) Nearly 700-800 applicants have approached Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka to consider their applications as per the deemed provisions. Karnataka Government should take holistic decision on this issue at the earliest on par with the saved applications.
6) Provision to transport minor mineral either by road or rail has been made out. From some areas, the Lessees are transporting the minor mineral both in road and rail. For transportation, suitable modifications are required in ILMS.
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