Rajasthan’s decision to promote the stone industry nearly a decade ago has proved to be a milestone in the development of the stone sector as one of the foremost employment generators and put the desert State on the world map. The seventh edition of “India Stonemart” began here on Thursday with these observations.
Inaugurating Stonemart-2013 at Sitapura industrial area here, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the Centre for Development of Stones (C-DoS) and “India Stonemart”, conceived during his previous tenure, had enabled the industry to develop and helped Rajasthan become one of the leading States in the sector.
“The State is already producing 90 per cent of sandstone and marble and has recently increased its share of granite production in the country,” said Mr. Gehlot. Jalore district had come up in a big way in granite production with the help of the State’s industry-friendly policies, he added.
Mr. Gehlot said new technology had led to introduction of new varieties of products and improved their quality. “All this has been possible because we took some important steps that led to the State’s development and brought employment to the rural areas.”
He pointed that the stone industry was providing employment to about eight lakh people. A modern laboratory has been set up on the C-DoS campus for testing different varieties of stones and a stone research chair has been established in Jaipur, he added.
State Industries Minister Rajendra Pareek said the far-reaching policies and facilities had attracted investors to the State. Rajasthan was the only State which had a land bank of 5,000 acre and was ready for any investor willing to set up industry, he said.
The State has identified mining as a thrust area for promotion, while Stonemart had helped the official agencies in introducing new technology to the stone sector, proving a boon for its development and significantly reducing wastage, said Mr. Pareek. Timely clearance would also help in environment protection, he said.
Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) and Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) Chairman Sunil Arora said the presence of a large number of foreign delegates and pavilions of four countries at Stonemart-2013 would provide a boost to the stone sector. A Rajasthan pavilion has also been put up at the venue, depicting about 200 varieties of stones available in the State.
Turkey’s Ambassador to India Burak Akcapar was the guest of honour at the inaugural function. He said 165 exhibitors from his country are taking part in the event, which was proof of the growing business relations between India and Turkey. He said Turkish marble had been used around the world and hoped that it would find a market in India as well.
RIICO Managing Director Naveen Mahajan announced the names of winners of all-India architectural stone awards, given every year to architects using dimensional stone in their projects.
The winners for 2012 in four categories were Rajeev and Tallulah D’Silva from Goa for exterior facing; Manish Banker from Pune for interior designs; Lija Jose and Reny Lijo from Thrissur for landscaping and Rahul Sen from New Delhi for green architecture.