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GST protest: Kishangarh marble hub shutdown enters Day 15, won’t function till August 5

Kishangarh is considered Asia’s biggest marble producing area.

jaipur Updated: Jul 15, 2017 19:52 IST
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Hindustan Times
GST,Goods and Services Tax,Rajasthan
Cloth traders protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at district collector's office in Bikaner on Saturday. (PTI)

The shutdown called by the marble industry in Kishangarh to protest against the imposition of 28% goods and services tax (GST), a huge jump from 5% in earlier tax regime, entered 15th day on Saturday. Kishangarh is considered Asia’s biggest marble producing area.

“Traders have not sold even one square-foot of marble after GST was imposed on July 1,” said Suresh Tak, president Kishangarh Marble Association. With no business being conducted, the government has also lost out on Rs 15 crore in revenue in the last two weeks, he added.

Tak claimed that the shutdown will continue until August 5, the day when GST council will meet again. “If government does not meet our demand of reducing the tax and bringing it down to the pre-GST era by then, we will decide our next course of action,” said Tak.

The production in marble industries has come down to a grinding halt.

There are about 700 marble slab and tile producing and 300 granite producing units in Kishangarh, which provide employment to about 50,000 workers. After 28% GST was imposed, thousands of daily-wage workers, mostly migrant labourers from others parts of Rajasthan and from other states, have been rendered jobless. Many of them have returned to their home states.

“More than 15,000 labourers have left as factories have not opened shop in the last 15 days,” claimed Tak.

Forty-year-old Ramnaresh Kumawat, who had been working as a daily-wager in Kishangarh for six years, said, “We have had no work for last two weeks; we will soon leave for our village near Khetari in Jhunjhunu.”

“More than 400 truckloads of marble used to be transported from Kishangarh to different parts of the country every day. Now not a single truck has gone out of the city in past 15 days,” he added.

Tak said unless the government takes corrective measures things are not going to improve.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 19:52 IST