BERHAMPUR: EVEN as some of the mines in the State have reopened after the mining scam, the granite manufacturing industry of Ganjam district is yet to recover. Despite being one of the major contributors to the State Exchequer, the Government or local administration is yet to pay attention to the sector.
Ganjam’s granite cluster houses 36 units with a combined capacity to produce 7,61,900 sq feet of processed granite, the highest in the country. Production of granite, though, has come down drastically with 24 processing units being closed down due to shortage of raw materials. Apparently, raw granite is available aplenty in the State, but it cannot be mined due to bureaucratic delay. The process of leasing out granite quarries to entrepreneurs has come to a grinding halt following the mining scam.
Since granite is categorised as a minor mineral and the State Government has complete authority in allotment and renewal of granite leases, the ‘over cautious’ approach of the Government officials in processing mining applications in the aftermath of mining scam has worsened the raw material shortage situation. At least five international quality granite varieties are available in 15 out of 22 blocks of Ganjam district. These are blue, lavender, brown, green, black and multi-colour granite varieties.
Official sources said there are 13 applicants waiting for renewal of their mining leases, while seven others who have received prospective licence (PL) are waiting for the final approval. As many as 89 new entrepreneurs have applied for mining licence during the last five years. While the PL is granted by the Director of Mines, the mining lease is approved by State Government. Sources said due to shortage of raw materials, several local entrepreneurs are now heading for Andhra Pradesh to set up their granite units and many are planning to shift their units from Ganjam to Srikakulam district in the neighbouring State.
A senior mining officer said no fresh approval for granite mining has been granted, but denied shortage of raw materials as several entrepreneurs have taken the lease of granite mines for about 20 to 30 years. Entrepreneurs in granite sector, however, said many of the entrepreneurs who have the lease belong to Andhra Pradesh and only a few are from Odisha. Since the lessees have their own units in Andhra Pradesh, they seldom supply raw materials to the local granite units. Whatever raw materials are supplied, are sold at exorbitant rates.
Source: By Express News Service | Published: 28th January 2018