Natural stones in myriad hues will be on display, attracting national and international participants during the 10th edition of Stona, the international stone exhibition, which will be held here in February 2012.

The international stone fair here is expected to increase the exports of stones from India, which stood at Rs. 6,000 crore in 2010. Stona 2012 alone is expected to generate new business of Rs. 1,000 crore.

“We are expecting support from State and Union governments through liberalised quarry leasing policies for further development of the quarrying sector,” said J.B. Surana, president of the All-India Granites and Stone Association, on Saturday.

There was a huge potential to be explored in the natural stone industry, he said, and added, “The 10th edition will provide opportunities to stone industry for expanding exports.”

China imports

On the problems of stone industry, he said that while India had allowed import of polished stone slabs from China, it had restricted the import of dimensional blocks from around the world.

“This restriction has resulted in the fall in the exports of finished goods from India and development is advantageous to China.”

Though India leads in production of natural stones with 35,342 million tonnes annually and has 27 per cent market share in the world, it lags behind China in terms of exports. While China produces 31,000 million tonnes with a market share of 23.48 per cent, it exported stones worth $3 billion as against India's $600 million.

Expanding capacity

Stona 2012, he said, would provide platform to expand production capacity of the existing units and also with setting up of new units.

A stone museum will be set up near Hosur in Tamil Nadu, which will also have training, research and development centre, exhibition and testing laboratory, at a cost of Rs. 100 crore. According to Mr. Surana, the association has purchased 35 acres and has sought allotment of 60 acres from the Tamil Nadu Government.

Meanwhile, the association has also announced an award for those taking green initiatives, especially those who undertake tree planting programmes around mines.

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