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Granite industry to focus on domestic market

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

With the losing their profit margin on account of rupee appreciating against the US dollar, their focus is gradually shifting towards the domestic market.
Last fiscal, the total exports of granite and marble from India had crossed the Rs 4,000 crore mark with the US accounting for the bulk of the consumption (40 per cent).
The All India Granite and Stones Association (AIGSA), which estimated a 10 per cent increase in overseas sales for 2007-08, found the export market no more lucrative.
"All exporters are reporting good sales. But the profit growth is flat on account of rupee appreciation. In fact, some exporters are registering drop in profit since the third quarter of the present fiscal," a representative of the AIGSA said.
The exporters are looking at the domestic market for growth, but they feel it is not attractive when compared to other countries.
"In India, the granite retail is not organised. Consumers tend to bargain unlike the US where fixed prices are in operation for seasons. But we have to explore the domestic market since there is no other option," the representative added.
AIGSA President Munavar Basha pointed out that the exporters were attempting to offset the loss by concentrating on the domestic market. "The domestic is booming," he said and added that the granite was also looking at the government for support.
"We want the government to work out export sops on the lines sought by the textile and garment exporters. This is one of the options to overcome the crisis," said Joy Panakkal, Chairman-STONA08 Fair, an event being organised to promote granite products.
Panakkal also urged the government to ensure that all states followed the uniform royalty rates as fixed by the Granite Development Council.
"As per GDC norms, all states are not supposed to collect in excess of Rs 3,000 per cubic feet as royalty. But the norm is being violated. This is hurting the exporters," he said.
Nearly 400 exhibitors, including 100 from foreign countries, will exhibit their granite products at Stona08 Fair scheduled from February 6 to 10 in Bangalore.

First Published: Tue, January 29 2008. 00:00 IST