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All about
Fact sheet 9

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Stone Quarries in India

India is known for natural stones in particular Granite, further processed to make it fir for the next stage of
Marble, Sandstone, Limestone and Slate. In India stone production. The typical process after quarrying involves
quarries are mainly located in the states of in Rajasthan, the following four steps:
Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and few locations in Dressing
Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Cutting / sawing
Nicobar, although they can also be found in many other
Surface grinding and polishing and
places. The stone is obtained from underground by a
process of digging, blasting or cutting. This process is Edge-cutting-trimming.
known as quarrying and the pit or open excavation Once all processes are complete the stone is ready for
from which the stone is obtained is called a Quarry. shipping to the end user in the form of slabs, tiles,
Based on the excavation method quarries can be blocks, cobbles, bricks etc.
divided in two broad categories, Vertical Quarries and
Horizontal Quarries. In the digging process when the
stone in the form of raw material is obtained from the
walls of the quarry, this is known as a vertical quarry.
While when stone is gathered from the bed or floor of
the quarry, this is known as a horizontal quarry. Mining
of stone involves both machines and manual work. The
drilling and channelling is done using hand chisels and
hammers. Now many quarries have mining machinery,
such as compressors and drilling machines for drilling
and blasting, cranes for lifting big blocks, and dampers
and trucks for transport. Once the stone is obtained it is Narrow Isle

Typical Supply Chain

The following is the typical supply chain as observed in the stone business.

Retail Brand


Indian Exporter / Manufacturer

Processor who owns the Factory

Sourcing of raw material (stones) from bus ss t
quarries (in form of Blocks or Slabs or

Random small slabs) Crane for lifting Random

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9 All about Stone Quarries in India

Important Processes at Quarry

The following are the important Mechanical / Manual processes employed at the quarry to obtain the stone.

Opening Cleaning of the upper soil

Explosion / blasting This is normally done by licensed contractors

to clear the quarry

Slicing of blocks /slabs / random These are thicker plates extracted mechanically with
the help of machines and / or by hand tools such as
chisels and hammers etc

Hand process or machine process Depending upon the requirement

Lifting Normally by mechanical crane

Splitting Sometime done at the quarry level, other wise

at factory

Loading For transporting to factory

Important Characteristics and Issues of Stone Quarry Industry

Stone Quarrying in India is an important Industry in the in Andhra Pradesh in some way may be impacted by
region, wherever they are located. The industry has its the presence of the Naxalite1 movement in the region.
own characteristics and associated complex Many of these regions are known for lower socio-
socioeconomicpolitical issues. For example quarries economic conditions and extreme poverty.

A few of the common characteristics of

the Quarry Industry are:
The Quarry Industry provides employment on a
large scale.
Quarries are often owned and managed by
politically influential individuals.
Quarries are taken on lease from the Government
and the lease ownership of the quarry is almost a
monopoly business in many regions.
Quarry owners are known as Lease holders.
Lease holders pay royalty to the Government with
agreed terms and conditions.
The Lease Agreement with the Government is an
important document.
The size of the quarry varies from place to place.
The majority of the work force is from the lower ine
castes, mainly from Scheduled Tribe Communities.2 bus ss t
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9 All about Stone Quarries in India

A few of the common issues of

Quarry Industry are:
The majority of Quarries are not owned by
Exporters / Processors / Factory owners.
Generally factory owners have less access to,
and control over the operations of the quarries.
Exporters, processors and factory owners either
source raw material (blocks or slabs or random)
or semi finished material from these quarries.
Health and Safety and Working Conditions are
frequently very poor.
Basic Employment benefits are rarely provided
to workers.
Environmental Concerns are generally not Open water for drinking and washing
Little or no documentation is maintained
pertaining to the employment of the workers.2

Particular Ethical Issues:

Working hours of the quarries are not fixed. The
timing differs during peak summer and winter and
monsoon. It is difficult to judge how many hours
in a day workers are working on the quarry.
Normally operations in the quarry are closed for
2 to 4 months during the monsoon season. If
the monsoon is not heavy and there are no
problems with flooding clogging, then operations
may continue as usual. Workers returning home
Child Labour is common in many of the quarries.
Children may be involved in ancillary activities such
as debris collecting etc.
All processes are subcontracted. Contractor has a Few workers receive any employment benefits, such
team of 4 to 12 workers. Workers are generally as bonus, paid leave, maternity leave, provident
from the local area or from near by villages. fund (PF), employee state insurance scheme (ESI).
There is a real possibility of the involvement of Little or no documentation is maintained by the
Bonded Labourers in the production process, mainly contractor in relation to the employment of the
at the unskilled level,but it can be very difficult to workers. All output records important from the
prove or substantiate with objective evidence. point of view of payment of wages are maintained
on a day to day basis and disposed of once the dues
Women workers are involved in the process. Male
are settled.
workers are mainly involved in slicing and lifting
while women workers are engaged in clearing of Generally there are no representation processes or
debris / scrap and filling the trolley. Some women committee of workers.
workers are involved in filling of drinking water on In the majority of cases toilets are not available
the site. It is very difficult to judge whether men and on the site, which causes embarrassment for
women are paid equally for same job. women workers.
The majority of the quarries do not operate on Small privately owned canteen facilities are
Sunday and in that case Sunday is the weekly day generally available at quarries, but the majority
off. Also, prominently in Rajasthan, many of the of workers bring their own food.
quarries are closed on New Moon Day. This is a Sheds are rarely available to workers on the site
religious belief among the workers not to touch to take cover during breaks.
any tools or weapons on the New Moon Day In some cases workers live on the site, and
(once a month). frequently their accommodations is inappropriate
Wages are paid on either on daily basis or on piece and of poor standard.
rate basis. Piece rate normally is determined on per bus ss t
square foot cut basis and output is counted at the
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end of every day. Workers are normally paid at the

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9 All about Stone Quarries in India

Particular Health and Safety Issues:

Often there are no provisions for first aid on
the site.
Although the use of head protection (helmets) and
safety shoes is said to be compulsory the majority
of the workers do not use any PPE.
Access to the quarry is often unsafe; this mainly
applies to vertical quarries. The minimum safe
access is to reach safely to the bottom of quarry.
Debris scattered in the area, can cause people to
slip and injure themselves. Workers are using PPEs
Normally trucks, trolleys and mechanical cranes
are used for loading and unloading of material and
transportation of stone, which brings the possibility
of accidents.
During peak summer there are frequent
occurrences of boils and sores on the hand of the
workers due to extreme heating of the stone as
well as the hand tools.

Crane used for lifting Random

Particular Environmental Issues

Many quarry owners have little awareness of
the environmental impacts associated with the
operations of quarries.
Many quarry operators are not aware whether
their operations come under the category of
Orange or Red or Green Category of the Pollution
Unsafe access Control Boards norms of the respective State.
Many operators are not aware whether they
required Consent to Operate certificate from the
Pollution Control Board of the respective State.
(Green Non Polluting Industry, Orange Industry
is creating some amount of Pollutants,
Red Extremely Polluting Industry).
Environmental Concerns are not adhered,
this includes:
Non maintenance of important Environmental
Obligations, such as No Objection certificate,
Consent from State Pollution Control Board,
Environmental Policy, Environmental Action Plan
and preventive actions to safeguard
environment (wetting of the quarry site to
minimize dust) etc.
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End of pipe treatment (rehabilitation / refilling,

treatment of waste water, filling of abandoned
quarry, aforestation etc).
Removal or proper disposal of loads of debris
which is accumulated and spread every where

without any proper order, many times on

the roads. sines
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Unpumped water at foot of quarried cliff

9 All about Stone Quarries in India

What can you do to improve

working conditions in queries?
Exporter / Manufacturer
Exporter / Manufacturer can begin with the following
actions, which are relatively simple to execute. The
representative (supervisor / buyer / marker) of the
Exporter or Manufacturer, who is in frequent touch
with quarry, can ensure that these action points are
adhered to by the quarries. Once the positive rapport is
developed and the importance of improvement is
explained, then more complex areas like employment,
documentation etc can be introduced. These are the
starting point only and are basic improvements
pertaining to health and welfare: Housekeeping can be improved
Maintain detailed information about all sourcing
quarries and the respective contractors. Check with local Pollution Control Board about
Ensure children are not present in the working area. whether their industry falls in which Category Red,
Orange or Green.
Ensure clean drinking water is provided on the site
and it should be always close to the work place. Consider the issue of rehabilitation of Abandon
Quarries (end of pipe treatment):
Ensure the availability of first aid in the work place.
A basic training on first aid can be provided to the The life of the quarry depends on the extraction
Contractors. and the availability of the required quality of
stone. Once the stone layers cease, the quarry
Safe access should be provided to reach the bottom
should be rehabilitated. Following are possible
of the quarry wherever required. The scrap
activities to be done in rehabilitation:
generated in the process which is freely and amply
available on the site can be use to create pavement Spreading the available excess waste and
or steps to have safe access. topsoil back over the surface to create a
safe site.
Ensure all the workers are using helmet and safety
shoes on the site. Planting the quarry and its immediate
surrounds with significant areas of native
Consider the provision of a simple shed, on the site,
trees and shrubs.
which can be used during breaks.
Landscape reclamation that is appropriate for
Consider the provision of covered makeshift toilets,
surrounding area.
separated for men and women workers.
Erosion control and slope stabilization.
Ensure safety instructions which workers can
understand are displayed at the site pictorially The rehabilitation process can be planned
if necessary. depending on the scale / size of operations
and the quarry.
Contractors can be trained and slowly prepared
to maintain basic employment information about All these issues should be addressed in consultation
their team of workers. This can be done in the with the supply chain partner to agree and prepare a
local language. long term action plan.
Check with district administration whether their It is the duty of Exporter / Manufacturer to work closely
region is part of the NCLP (National Child Labour with quarry and explain them the importance of
Project). This means Government of India has taken improvements in the area of Ethical Trade / Health &
cognisance of the fact, that Child Labour exists in Safety / Environment, etc.
the area and any such Child Labourers can be
rehabilitated though this project.
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1 The rise of Naxal-Maoist related activities in eastern India gives rise to the apprehension that India is entering a phase where it will

sooner or later face the second major threat to its territorial integrity after the Khalistani or Kashmiri terrorist threat. Several eastern
Indian states are overrun with Naxalite organizations or their sympathizers and the security forces are already battling secessionist
organizations with foreign backing in North-East India. However, a point to be noted is that unlike the problem in the North-East, bus ss t
the Naxal problem has strong socio-economic roots in the failure of local administration to satisfy the basic needs of the local

population. Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and north Andhra Pradesh
are but a few of the states in east India that have been grappling with this problem for quite some time.
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2 Schedule Tribes (STs) Scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs, Adivasi) are Indian communities that are

accorded special status by the Constitution of India.

The information in this document has been compiled using various sources publicly available. Every effort
has been made to ensure that all relevant data have been included; however BTE does not claim that the
information in this guideline is exhaustive. The intent of this document is to provide basic guideline and
should be of some help to the end user (buyer/importer/manufacturer/supplier or any such entity). With
the help of this document the end user should re ensure the specific provisions of local / regional www.bte.org.uk ca
legislations applicable / suitable and relevant to their production process /supply chain. lly