ONGOLE: The granite mining and affiliated industries at Chimakurthy and Gundlapalli Growth Centre, along with Martur and Ballikurava areas of Prakasam district, are getting back on track as they are again receiving orders from local and international consumers.
The State government’s Nadu-Nedu scheme, and new buildings for village/ward secretariats and some Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the district came as a ray of hope to the granite industry. The Covid-19 crisis had earlier severely impacted the business of granite-based industries in the district.
Prakasam district’s granite industry has a turnover of around Rs 2,000 crore per annum, with over 3,000 major, medium and small-scale granite industries and affiliated units. It provides direct employment to around 30,000 people, and indirect employment to about 60,000.
Expressing happiness over the granite industry resuming work, AP Small, Medium Scale Granite Industries Association district president K Sekhar Reddy said that with the increase in construction activities since the lockdown was lifted, and work orders for government-related construction projects, granite units will be able to pay workers and suppliers on time. “It is a big relief, and we will hopefully resume full-swing work soon,” he said.
As much as 75-80 per cent of raw granite blocks from the Chimakurthy Galaxy Granite industry are exported to China. The finished goods are then exported from there to various countries. “Though the Chinese are not approaching us directly due to the pandemic, their local agents and representatives are placing orders,” said MA Ajeem Shahin, Galaxy Granite Industries Association leader.
Government projects have come as a big relief to the granite industries, as slabs and chips are being procured for flooring and walls, among other things.“As many as 1,387 out of 3,250 government schools are being renovated in the district under the Nadu Nedu scheme. We ordered granite tiles for `55- 60 per sq ft, but the granite industry representatives said it would not be viable for them. Hence, the government let the Nadu Nedu contractors buy granite floor tiles as per their budget. As far as possible, all renovated schools will have granite flooring,” VS Subba Rao, District Education Officer (DEO) said.
“Some contractors purchased around 8,000 sq ft of granite tiles from us. Some others placed orders for village/ward secretariat buildings. Though the price they offered was not profitable, we considered it as a responsibility of the Prakasam district granite industrialists to supply tiles for schools and other public utilities,” K Mohan Reddy, head of PV granites, said.
According to industry insiders, a few other contractors purchased ‘steel gray’ variety of granite tiles from the Gundlapalli-Industrial growth centre-based granite supply companies and also from the Martur-Ballikurava area granite processing units.
There are around 630 granite, chemical, and granite-affiliated industrial units in the Gundlapalli Industrial Growth Centre (GIGC). Among them, more than 50 per cent belong to granite-affiliated sectors. Now, more than 75 per cent of them have restarted production. “We work here in a granite-polishing unit as machine operators. During the lockdown, all units of the growth centre were shut, and we were jobless,” said P Srinivas from Tallur.
Govt schemes provide boost
As many as 1,387 govt schools are being renovated in the district under the Nadu-Nedu scheme. Government projects have come as a big relief to the granite industries, as slabs and chips are being procured for flooring and walls, among other things.