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Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004

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`Karnataka coastal region not very happy'

Our Bureau

Though it has made an effort to revive the Mangalore roof tile industry, the demand of cooperatives to reduce tax on arecanut has not been materialised.

Mangalore , July 19

THE Budget proposals, submitted by the Deputy Chief Minister and the Finance Minister of Karnataka, Mr S. Siddaramaiah, in the State Legislative Assembly on Monday, have little to cheer about for the people of coastal region.

Though reduction in sales tax rate on "Mangalore roofing tiles and ridges" from four per cent to one per cent has brought back smile on the faces of people in this industry, the demand of cooperatives to reduce tax on arecanut has not been materialised. Increase in ST rate on cashew kernels from five per cent to eight per cent has come as a surprise for the cashew manufacturers here.

The Budget has made an effort to revive the roof tile industry here — commonly known as "Mangalore tiles" — by reducing ST on it.

Welcoming the Budget proposals in this regard, Mr F.M. Lobo of Cascia Tile Factory, told Business Line that the move to reduce ST on "Mangalore tiles" might help boost the growth of the industry here.

It is to be noted here that the number of factories that manufacture "Mangalore tiles" has come down to four from more than 25 a few years ago. However, some people in the industry say that this decision should have been taken much earlier.

Budget is "not so encouraging" for the small-scale industrial (SSI) sector here. The President of the Kanara Small Industries Association (KSIA), Mr K. Jayaraj Pai, said that though the Government has extended benefits to weavers and farmers, not much has been done to the SSI sector.

The arecanut industry here was expecting a favourable Budget proposal by Mr Siddaramaiah in the form of reduction in ST rate, as he had done that in his previous Budget presentations.

Mr B. Nagaraja Shetty, BJP MLA and former President of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd, said that though the Government spoke much on farmers, there is nothing for the arecanut industry.

"Budget proposals are silent on reduction of sales tax from four per cent to two per cent," he said. Campco delegation had submitted a memorandum to Mr Siddaramiah in this regard.

Mr Giridahr Prabhu of Achal Cashew Industries said that the hike in ST rate on cashew kernels might affect the consumers in the State. The tax is not applicable for exports and outside the State.

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