Quarry Units to Go on Stir from February 17
Construction activity in the state is likely to be severely hit with a forum representing various organisations in the quarry-crusher sector, threatening to launch an indefinite agitation from February 17 onwards if the government does not roll back the proposed “exorbitant” hike in compound tax imposed on quarry and crusher units in the state budget.
Addressing a press meet here on Thursday, office-bearers of Kerala Crusher- Quarry Coordination Committee, said that quarry and crusher units will remain closed down till the government listens to their demand and makes necessary concessions. Six organisations have come under the coordination committee to realise the objective, they said.
“In some categories, the compounding tax has been increased to as high as 300 per cent. Besides, the government has stopped issuing fresh permits to quarries which operate at a depth of over six metres,” said E K Ali Moitheen Haji, who represents the All Kerala Crusher Owners’ Association.
The coordination committee also demanded a rollback of the compounding tax imposed for M-sand (a quarry by-product) which is now increasingly replacing the scarce river sand in various construction activities.
Other demands of the committee include reducing the tax of 14.5 per cent imposed on crusher products to four per cent, doing away with the compounding slab system and adopting the ‘square-centimetre’ method.
“It’s illogical to tax primary crushers which do not bring out finished products. Quarries which function below the depth of six metres should also be given permits and the ban on short-term permits should also be lifted,” said C Y Meeran of Licensed Quarry-Crusher Owners’ Association.
A M Yusuf, former MLA representing Quarry & Crusher Operators’ Association, T Padmarajan of the Confederation of Construction Organisations, T P Abdul Azeez of Cochin Crusher Owners’ Association and M B Prakash of Kerala Quarry-Crusher Operators’ Association have also come out in support of the strike.