Granite industry in Karimnagar district, which is known for its huge reserves of Tan brown, Maple Red and Coffee Brown varieties, is losing its sheen following the steep decline in exports to China, which is the main consumer.
Following the restrictions imposed by China, the granite exports have plummeted considerably over the last few years. Gone are the days when more than one lakh cubic meters of granite per month was exported from Karimnagar district to China. Now, it is not even reaching 10,000 cubic meters per month.
Against a total of 160 quarries, hardly 60 of them are excavating granite now. The industry, which used to provide employment to over 1.5 lakh skilled and unskilled migrant labourers from Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, had dwindled to less than 60,000 and they too were employed in the granite polish units on a temporary basis.
The crisis in the granite sector had cast its shadow on other sectors such as hotel industry, owners of lorries and dumpers, and also railways. Several star hotels, which were occupied by the representatives of China to purchase the local granite, have also lost business with steep decline in occupancy ratio.
Karimnagar District Granite Quarry Owners’ Association president R. Tirupathi Goud said the decline in the export of granite to China has become a cause for concern for owners. More than 70 per cent granite quarries have stopped production and the machinery remains idle causing huge loss to the owners as they were unable to repay loans, he said, and urged the government to further reduce the royalty tax from the existing ₹1,850 and ₹2,000 per cubic meter to ₹1,500 per cubic meter.
Sri Venkatesh Granites managing partner Venugopal Karwa said they are operating only one shift to excavate granite following the slump in the exports, when compared to three shifts a few years ago. The industry is reeling under acute crisis and the government should help the sector, he urged.