Owners of the granite tiles factories on Friday threatened indefinite closure of the industry in the district as their operations were hit by the power cuts. They were up in arms complaining that the granite units could operate literally for less than 13 days a month.

In addition to regular power cuts of six hours a day, the industry was denied supply for 24 hours officially on every Thursday and Friday and unofficially on Sunday. Over 80,000 skilled and unskilled workers engaged in the 600 granite units in the district were literally out of work.

Many of skilled workers who hailed from Rajasthan, Punjab and other neighboring states and districts were on their way back.

The granite slab units, already affected by the hike in diesel prices that had a cascading effect on the raw materials, were in no position to retain the workers by considering their demand for payment of wages even for the power cut days.

Since the power problems had become acute for the past two months, many of the units were not in a position to pay their loan installments at the end of the financial year. The power cuts resulted in acute water scarcity leaving even the workers residing in the vicinity of the units, high and dry. Despite repeated representations, there was no improvement in the supply situation. The electricity authorities were pleading their helplessness, said Para Nageswar Rao the Khammam granite tiles factory owners association.

Hundreds of the granite factory workers joined a protest rally organized by the association in the day protesting against the power cuts. They staged a demonstration in front of the collectorate and presented a memorandum to the Collector, V. Usharani.

She assured the association leaders that the situation was bound to improve after couple of weeks as the power needs of the agriculture services would come down with the rabi harvest. Once the examination of the students were over there would be more relief on the on the power supply situation.

The granite slab factory association urged the collector to intervene in the issue and ensure that the small scale units were exempted from the power cuts.

Demand

The association also demanded the royalty relief extended by the former chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy to industry to be continued for another three years.

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