Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh Small Scale Granite Industries Association has expressed concern over Government’s plans to increase ‘seignorage fee’, saying it would be great burden for smaller operators in an industry that already ran on low margins.

At a press conference here on Thursday, association president E. Vijayakumar Rao said the increase in royalty would invariably have its effect on the industry by leading to an increase in price of raw material.

He wanted simplification of procedures and the introduction of a slab system.

He said that in 2004, the government had hiked royalty from Rs. 1,250 to Rs. 1,750 per cubic metre (cbm) for black granite and from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 per cbm for colour granite, a clear increase of 50 per cent. The increase on ‘khandas’ (two feet by one foot size) was a whopping 116 per cent, he said.

Problems from officials

The burden due to price hike apart, the small units were facing problems from a range of officials at all levels in the Department of Mines and Geology.

A slab system would surely lead to increase in the tax base for the government, he said.