Sunday , February 25 2018

Granite factories’ strike hits 25,000 workers in Nellore

The granite mining companies are at the loggerheads over the demand to provide 50% of the granite extracted to the factories.

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As many as 1,150 factories in Chimakurthy, Budavada, Marturu, Santamaguluru, Gullapalli, Kandukuru and Kanigiri in Prakasam district and Chilakaluripeta in Guntur district have been depending on the mines for raw material from 150 granite mines located in these towns.

Nellore: The granite mining companies and factories are at loggerheads over a latter’s demand to provide 50 percent of the granite extracted in the mines to the factories. As many as 1,150 factories in Chimakurthy, Budavada, Santamaguluru, Marturu, Gullapalli, Kandukuru and Kanigiri in Prakasam district and the Chilakaluripeta in Guntur district have been depending on the mines for a raw material  from 150 granite mines located in these towns.

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All the factories have put down shutters from Nov. 28 pressing for their demand and this hit livelihood of nearly 25,000 workers across  the Prakasam and Guntur districts. The managements of these factories are up in arms against the government over GO No 37 that gives powers to impose a fine up to `5 lakh even for minor lapses. B. Prasad Reddy, president of Budavada & Chimakurthy Granite Factory Owners Association, alleged that the inspecting officials also added seigniorage and  the mineral value both on finished and the raw material.

According to Mr. Reddy, their association is also opposing the practice of mining companies passing on any hike in the royalty to the factories. For instance, mines have been charging 30 percent towards the district mineral fund as against one per cent charged in the past, citing AP government’s recent order. Incidentally, the state government is free to charge anywhere between 1-30 percent but the fund-starved government selected for the maximum limit.

“This is in addition to Swachh Bharat cess, Krishikalyan, and Service Tax and total comes to 32 percent”, said Mr.  Srikanth of SV Granite factory in Ongole. He underlined the need to speedup a refund of VAT, besides subsidies pertaining to power and  the industries to enable the factories to survive and provide jobs to locals. He alleged that they are not in a position to pay salaries to the workers because of a heavy dose of taxes on  a granite.

Mr. Prasad of Jaya Mines in Chimakurthy justified the stand of mines while reminding that they have been absorbing any hike in taxes for a long time and they are left with no other option than passing on the burden to the factories to remain in the trade. He maintained that every factory is giving 50 percent of the mined granite to the factories in a neighborhood while expressing surprise over the allegation of factories. “We are ready to give whatever the material they want” he stated pointing to the availability.

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