ONGOLE: Unable to bear the continued financial losses, granite businessmen in the Chimakurthy and Martur-Ballikurava regions in Prakasam district have decided to shut down their factories from Monday. In addition to the losses, the recent hikes in fuel prices, high power bills and the enhanced royalty charges also pushed them to take the move, they said.
In a meeting on Wednesday, Martur-Ballikurava granite factory owners' association unanimously decided to indefinitely close the factories from November 15.
Owners of granite cutting, polishing and processing units from Martur, Ballikurava, Gurijepalli, Vemavaram Santhamaguluru and T Maddirala took part in the meeting. Similarly, RL Puram (Chimakurthy) granite factory owners also unanimously decided to down their shutters from Monday.
Apart from the financial losses to the industry, the move will impact thousands of workers and labourers who are employed by these factories. Sekhar Reddy, president of the Small and Medium Granite Industries' Association, said: "For a long time, we have been requesting the government to reimburse us for the power usage and provide subsidies that were announced previously."
"We have been suffering losses for the past two years due to the pandemic. Now, the fuel prices' hike, power bills, enhancement of the royalty tax and the recent penalties imposed on us by the mines department are adding to our woes," Reddy added.
Stating that a large number of people may lose jobs, he requested the government to look into the matter and take appropriate steps.
Recently, the State Mines and Geology department reportedly issued notices to about 200 granite factories regarding the pending penalties in relation to the Vigilance & Enforcement raids in 2018. The department is said to have asked each polishing, cutting and other granite units to cough up Rs 10 lakh-R 15 lakh as penalties.
The granite mining and affiliated industries in Prakasam district are mainly situated in Chimakurthy, Gundlapalli Growth Centre, and Martur-Ballikurava. They have an annual turnover of `2,000 crore and employ 30,000 people directly and 60,000 indirectly.
Industry employs 30,000 directly
The granite mining and affiliated industries in Prakasam district are mainly situated in Chimakurthy, Gundlapalli Growth Centre, and Martur-Ballikurava. They have an annual turnover of Rs 2,000 crore and employ 30,000 people directly and 60,000 indirectly