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New duty irks granite SSIs

Our Bureau

HYDERABAD, March 3

THE Union Budget for 2002-2003 and its excise duty structure as applicable to the granite industry seem to have created a problem for the granite industry.

Small-scale granite producers in the country are now up in arms against the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha's Budget proposal to levy 16 per cent excise duty on granite to bring it on par with marble.

Speaking to newspersons, Mr E. Vijay Kumar Rao, President of A.P. Small Scale Granite Industries Association, and its members, said that they have closed shop from March 1 and appealed to the State Chief minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, to intervene in the matter and resolve the issue.

They said that while the Union Finance Minister sought to change the duty structure to bring it on par with the marble industry, there was no way the small-scale granite producers could compete in the market with the already well-entrenched marble industry.

The marble lobby worked against the granite industry and that the suggested duty structure was detrimental to their industry, they added.

The members also said that while the royalty on marble was only Rs 250 per cubic metre, it was about Rs 2,000 for granite.

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