The Federation of Minor Minerals Industry (FEMMI)’s national secretary general Ch. Rao said that over 3,500 mining and processing units had halted operations completely in Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and other parts of Andhra Pradesh due to unprecedented hike in licence fees, multiple taxes, restrictions and involvement of private parties in tax collection and other administrative activities.
He urged the State government to hold a meeting immediately with the stakeholders as over 50,000 workers had lost their livelihood with the stopping of mining activity across the State. He said that over 10,000 workers of the granite industry of Srikakulam were unable to earn their daily wage due to the crisis in the industry.
Mr. Rao told The Hindu that the association had been holding meetings with the leaseholders of the North Andhra region continuously to elicit their view points over the stalemate in the mining industry. According to him, the export of various metals including granite, road metal, building stone, dolomite, barytes, and silica were disrupted owing to the stoppage of mining activity.
“The government has earlier announced a simplified slab system for granite factories and reduction of power tariff. However, it has not materialised in the last four years. The introduction of Consideration Tax, 10-fold increase in dead rent, and compulsory production rules have burdened the industry. Royalty collection has become another jolt,” he said.
“The crisis in the mining industry will have a cascading effect on the rural economy too as mining units are located in 580 mandals across A.P. Hence, we have requested the government to introduce simplified rules and regulations. Otherwise, new entrepreneurs will not come forward for the leases as it may take more than 20 years for them to break even. The banks also will not give loans for buying machinery and equipment when lease-holders cannot show proof of assured returns,” he added.