Special Correspondent

Plea to revoke export duty on iron ore `Goa will have to pay Rs. 750 cr. a year by way of duty'

PANAJI: Goa's private sector iron ore export industry has reacted with shock to the Union Budget proposal to impose an export duty of Rs. 300 per tonne on iron ore and concentrates.

While terming the budget a "social sector budget" as it aims to benefit society as a whole, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has also expressed regret over the imposition of export duty on iron ore since that would affect mining industry in Goa to a large extent. "Since Goa produces low-grade ore which is not suitable for local steel industry and since mining is the mainstay of Goan economy, Goa should have been exempted from the duty," GCCI president Nitin Kuncolienkar said on Wednesday.

"There is no way that our industry can bear this cost. The industry will simply have to close down. If the export duty is continued, Goa alone will have to pay Rs. 750 crore a year, while the Centre will mop up Rs. 2,700 crore totally," Executive Director S. Sridhar, of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) told The Hindu .

"This export duty is applicable from Thursday," said Mr. Sridhar.

He said the industry would make a representation to the Finance Ministry to roll back the levy.

Welcomed

The Goa Small Industries Association (GSIA) welcomed the decision of the Finance Minister to meet the long-pending demands of the SMEs.

The former president and member of GSIA executive Keshav Kamat said that the industry in Goa also welcomed the budget proposal to reduce the Central Sales Tax to 3 percent from Thursday and the plan to phase it out entirely by 2010.

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