Rocky Times: Karnataka’s Granite Industry Faces Unprecedented Crisis

The granite industry in Karnataka, a significant player in the global market, is facing a severe downturn with numerous units on the brink of closure. This downturn is attributed to a combination of international conflicts and economic factors, leading to a substantial slump in exports.

Impact of International Conflicts The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel has severely impacted the granite industry in Karnataka. The industry, which was already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faced further challenges with the outbreak of the Ukraine-Russia war. The recent Middle East conflict has exacerbated these difficulties, causing a significant drop in orders from the region. Karnataka’s annual granite exports, valued at Rs 2,000 crore, have halved to just Rs 1,000 crore in the financial years 2021-22 and 2022-23 due to these multiple international crises​​​​.

Granite Export Statistics Karnataka’s granite varieties, including jet black, Ilkal pink, green granite, and Himalayan blue, are in high demand worldwide, especially for decorative purposes. The state is part of a larger Indian granite export market, including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Gujarat, which collectively export granite worth Rs 12,000 crore annually to countries like the US, China, Taiwan, Europe (particularly Italy), and the Middle East. Karnataka alone contributes nearly Rs 2,000 crore to this total. However, the ongoing crises have led to a complete halt in orders from the Middle East, significantly affecting the industry’s revenue​​​​.

Domestic Challenges and Job Losses The decline in international demand, compounded by the rise of artificial granite (quartz), has forced many granite processing units in Karnataka to close, particularly in areas like Jigani, Bommasandra, and Attibele. This has resulted in the loss of at least 1,000 jobs. The industry’s challenges have also been exacerbated by a failure to take advantage of Karnataka’s new mining policy due to the international market slump. Moreover, China has significantly reduced its imports from India, slashing 80% of its granite imports, affecting business in other countries like France, Germany, and Poland as well. This reduction in demand and the subsequent closure of units highlight the industry’s heavy reliance on international markets and the impact of global geopolitical events on local economies​​.

In summary, the Karnataka granite industry’s crisis reflects the complex interplay of global events and local economic dynamics, underlining the vulnerability of export-dependent sectors to international developments. The industry’s future now hinges on the stabilization of global markets and the ability to adapt to changing market demands.



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