The shutdown called by the marble industry in Kishangarh to protest against the imposition of 28% GST (goods and services tax), 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 INR 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.
Tak said unless the government takes corrective measures things are not going to improve.