`Export momentum to continue till Olympics 2008'

T.E. Raja Simhan

China usually imports dimensional block granite stones from India, does value addition and sends finished products to various other countries.

Chennai, Dec. 29

Indian athletes may or may not bring a medal from the Beijing 2008 Olympics games. However, India's granite industry has already made its mark by contributing significantly to the huge constructions for the games.

Indian granite varieties such as pure black, tan brown, white galaxy, blue from Visakhapatnam and grey from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were used extensively in construction, according to industry sources.

China also imports granite from Brazil and countries in Africa. The export momentum from India would continue till next year, sources said.

For instance in 2005, China imported 23.89 lakh tonne of marble block valued at around $380 million (Rs 1,700 crore) and 20.46 lakh tonnes of granite block worth around $400 million (Rs 1,800 crore) and India's share was over 10 per cent in terms of volume and worth more than Rs 600 crore. The numbers for this year and next year would be much more, source said.

China usually imports dimensional block granite stones from India, does value addition and sends finished products to various other countries. However, since 2003 China's requirement of granite was mainly for construction at Beijing, according to industry sources.

The city of Beijing is investing around $23 billion in preparation for the Olympic games. Much of this amount is spent on construction projects. The Chinese Government is investing in renovation and construction of 36 gymnasiums and stadiums and 59 training centres. Over 3,00,000 houses have been demolished and residents relocated thus far in Beijing due to construction in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. The "Olympic Green" containing 13 venues will be the centre for the 2008 Olympics. In addition to the National Stadium, National Indoor Stadium and National Swimming Centre, the venues include the Main Press Centre, the International Broadcasting Centre and Olympic Village. Total investment in the Olympic Village itself is expected to be $480 million, according to information available on the Web.

According to sources, China itself has a number of quarries. However, it still depends on India for colours such as pure black, grey and white varieties.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 30, 2006)
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