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National Seminar on Dimensional Stone Quarrying, Environmental issues and Community Welfare

FIGSI-1Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry and Geological Society of India with support from the Department of Mines and Geology, Govt. of Karnataka organized one day national seminar on “Dimensional Stone Quarrying, Environmental Issues and Community Welfare” on 17.01.2015 at Bangalore. In the seminar, several issues related to dimensional stone quarrying, polices of Centre and States, problems related to environmental and forest clearances, benefit to the community, and other related issues were deliberated by experts from central, State organizations, and industry pioneers/veterans.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Following are recommendations based on the deliberations in the seminar.

Dimensional Stone Deposits:

India is endowed with rich mineral resources, particularly dimensional stones. In view of different policies and procedures adopted by different States, India ranks behind countries like Italy, China, etc. in spite of good resources. Proper policy initiatives by the State help the industry to use full potential to overtake these countries in the international market.

Scope and employment generation:

There is tremendous scope for expanding domestic trade, exports, and generating large scale employment, particularly in rural India.

FIGSI-2

Dimensional stone being a Minor Mineral, each stone deposits bearing State of India has its own Minor Mineral Concession Rules with differing Leasing procedures, levying of royalty and enforcement of quarrying methodology. As there is no level playing ground in respect of leasing and production, there exist extreme uncertainty and distinct disadvantages in effectively competing and marketing the product in the international scenario. Hence, India, in spite of its extremely good dimensional stone resources, lags behind appreciably losing valuable foreign earnings.In view of this ground reality, FIGSI requests for a tripartite meeting comprising Centre, State Governments, and Stake Holders either at New Delhi or in Bangalore for arriving at a uniform code of application of Minor Mineral Concession Rules, cutting across State boundaries, throughout India.

As dimensional Stone industry is capital intensive, along with sufficient duration of RP, PL and ML, FIGSI requests for seamless migration from one stage to another in a time bound manner which not only ensures the longevity of the material supply but also sustained marketability in the highly competitive world market.

Grant of Leases and Renewal:

Period of grant shall be for a larger period (50 years) and renewal shall be hassle free based on compliances of grant conditions and availability of resources in the leased area.

Delegation of Power for grant of licenses:

Power to grant of licences/lease for dimensional stones shall be delegated to the district officer (Dy. Director/ Senior Geologist) similar to delegation of power to grant working permission for dimensional stones in respect of patta lands in Karnataka.

Royalty/Dead Rent:

Royalty/Dead rent shall be uniform based on scientific/market study. Revision of Royalty/Dead Rent shall be in consultation with industry/stake holders and shall not be unilateral. Method of charging royalty based on volumetric measurement shall be reverted to tonnage basis to avoid mistakes in measurement of raw blocks and related litigations.

Mineral Zone:

In consonance with the above re-commendations, FIGSI also proposes for Land Classification as MINERAL (BEARING) BELT in such of those areas having rich resources of mineral deposits having distinct, visible and viable commercial value.

FIGSI-3Mineral Resources and Reserves:

As UNFC format of reporting mineral resources and reserves is made mandatory with specific formulation of guide lines by IBM in respect of dimensional stone deposits, to be followed by mineral concession holders at every stage of RP, PL and ML, FIGSI requests IBM and GSI to provide a panel of Qualified Persons so as to the Members of FIGSI make use of their services in carrying out the reconnaissance, prospecting and quarrying strictly adhering to the stipulations of MMDR, 1957.

Simplification of Rules for Forest Environmental Clearances:

Procedure for grant of forest and environmental clearances shall be simplified and in a time bound manner. Provision shall be made so that State Level Environmental Assessment Authority reviews clearances at district/regional level for speedy disposal of environmental clearances of existing and proposed quarries. FIGSI requests Environment and Pollution Control Boards to constitute a panel of Experts with whom members of FIGSI would interact for implementation of statutory provisions, addressing of violations and stream lining of processes.

Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (earlier known as All India Granites and Stone Association) is the only all India recognized trade body serving the natural stone Industry of India from the last 32 years.

The Federation works as a bridge between the Industry and the Government. The Federation is representing members from Granite, Marble, Slate, Sandstone and other ornamental and decorative stones, both dimensional blocks and processed stones, Machinery, Abrasives, Tools, etc. from all over India and having 857 members.

The main objective of the Federation is promoting Indian Natural stones for Export and domestic market. The federation conducts International Stone Fairs every two years popularly known as STONA, which has a well established name in the International Market.

FIGSI is in the process of establishing R&D Training Center for the benefit of the Indian Natural Stone industry and as a first step has already purchased an area of about 32 acres near Hosur.

The Federation also plans to set up a Stone museum, Testing Centre, and International Standard Exhibition Centre at the same venue.

Best Quarry Awards:

State Government in association with Federation shall institute awards for adopting best practices in quarrying technology, conservation of mineral resources and environmental practices.

Federation is committed to abide by all statutory conditions and State shall also institute awards to law abiding shall projects as an incentive.

Corporate Social Responsibility:

Industry shall adopt adjacent villages to improve infrastructural and other basic amenities in the area, organizing health camps, adopting villages for improvement.

FIGSI desires to constitute a “WELFARE CELL” not only for monitoring of welfare activities in the adopted villages adjoining to quarry sites but also of effective contribution towards “District Mineral Foundation” as envisaged in MMDR.

Establishment of R&D Centre:

Federation is planning to establish an R & D centre in a centrally located are adjoining Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu States. (A training institute, Stone Museum and Stone Testing Centre and International Standard Exhibition / Trade Centre will be established in this centre). Technical and Financial assistance is required for this centre from the State and Central Governments to help the industry to grow on scientific background.

Liberalization of Import Policy:

Federation seeks liberalization of “import policy” by DGFT and allowance of free import of dimensional stones into the country to ensure sufficient stock of raw material for the processing units.

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