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Analysis on problem faced by the workers in

Granite Industry

In Fulfillment of the Requirements for Internal Component in

(Regd. No. BA0140047)


Prof. Ms. Preetham balakrishnan

I do hereby declare that the project entitled Analysis on

problem faced by the workers in Granite Industry
submitted to Tamil Nadu National law school in partial
fulfilment of requirement of award of degree in
undergraduate in law is a record of original work done by
me under the supervision and guidance of Ms.Preetham
balakrishnan department of Labour Law Iof Tamil Nadu
National law school and has not formed basis for award of
any degree or diploma or fellowship or any other title to
any candidate of any university.

Place: Trichy
Date: 29/09/2016


This is to certify that the project entitled Analysis on problem

faced by the workers in Granite Industry submitted to
Tamil Nadu National law school in partial fulfillment of requirement of
award of degree of under graduate in Law done by Ramvignesh.j under
the supervision and guidance of Ms.Preetham Balakrishnan department
of Labour Law I of Tamil Nadu National Law School.

Place: Trichy
Date: 29/09/2016

This project could not have been done without the help, guidance,
and support of few people who stood by my side from the very
beginning of this project.

Im very glad and grateful to Prof. Ms.Preetham Balakrishnan who was

the initiative and inspired me to take up this project. Her contribution to
this project is an immense one.

Im also grateful to my parents and friends who all stood as a pillar of

support for me during this entire research work. Their contribution to
this project is an indispensable one.

Granite quarrying and processing industry play a central responsibility in the economic
development of Chittoor district. Granite processing industry encompass the advantages of
generating additional employment, with low investment, diversifying the industrial pedestal,
plummeting regional disparities through dispersal of industries into rural, semi urban and
backward areas. Granite units are the large, medium and small scale units which are play a
catalytic role in achieving the national or state, regional level objectives of increase industrial
production, generation of additional employment, more evenhanded distribution of income and
means of production and reducing regional disparities. Recognizing the suitability of granite
industry has been accorded due priority in the Chittoor district. The granite processing industry
has an imperative function in small scale industries for industrial development in the district. The
Chittoor district with 265 granite units among these 240 units came under the small scale sector.
Vast resources of granite are making all out efforts to exploit and optimize granite production
establishment of small-scale industries and undertake value addition. Granite industry has
identified in small scale sector as one of the growth engines for overall development of industry
and infrastructure in Chittoor district. Granite deposits are accessible in Chandragiri, Tirupati,
Chittoor, Gudipala, Anupalli, Kuppam and Western Parts of the district. Granite is the hardest
and most durable of the building and monumental stones and is the most difficult to quarry and
to finish. The development of the granite business into a small-scale industry had to wait on the
invention of more powerful and more efficient tools and machinery to deal with this obdurate
stone. The production of granite processing industry has a significant place in small scale
industries in Chittoor district. The granite industry produces 80983.5 tonnes of the production by
2010-11 in Chittoor district. Now a days the stipulate for the granite stone from the people
increases in the district. Because of several people make use of the granite stone for building
construction and polishing purposes in the district. There is existence of granite units, both in the
large or medium and small scale sectors in Chittoor district. The Chittoor district with cosmic
mineral potential has worked out certain strategies to explore, exploit and develop the granite
industry with the constructive cooperation of both private and public sectors. The district has
paying attention on the inventory of mineral resources, key issues of legislation, objectives and
strategies in time with the National Mineral Policy in accelerating the growth in the liberal
regime and thereby leading to overall development of the granite industry. The working
conditions in 18 granite quarries in 2 South Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, producing
both for domestic and export markets. The field study identified serious human rights violations
including child labour and bonded labour. The child labour in granite quarries in Tamil Nadu,
due to increased state government scrutiny on quarries. Twenty six european natural stone
companies, insights were gained in natural stone companies efforts to improve labour conditions
in lower tiers of their supply chains.


1. What are the assest faced by the workers in Granite Industry?

2. Whether the salary paid for their risk in Granite Industry compensation?
3. Do they have proper working conditions?

Granite Industry

Granite Quarrying Phase Granite is extracted through open excavation (open pit mining).The
quarrying of granite involves two central stages of procedure, actual block splitting either from
sheet rock or boulder. This is done either by digging, cutting or blasting processes by means of
explosives. Further activities involving different items of work, such as amputation of weather
beaten zones or overburden, opening up of rock faces, lifting of cut blocks, transportation and
other ancillary work. Work in the granite quarries is mostly performed manually 1. In some cases
semi-mechanized methods are used for lifting, cutting, and transportation. There are only a very
limited number of quarries that use contemporary technologies for block splitting, such as flame
jet burners and wire saws for cutting, compressors and drilling machines for drilling and blasting,
cranes for lifting big blocks, and dampers and trucks for transport. For drilling and channeling,
hand chisels and hammers are the most frequently used tools, even though granite quarrying is
characterised by the production of blocks of considerable size and weight. However, another
source maintains that many quarries do deploy mining machinery nowadays. This seems
plausible, as one of the reasons that developing countries have increased so much in importance
as supplier countries of natural stone worldwide at the expense of traditional European countries
is the access to and possession of advanced technology.

1 ). 2 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework,
published by the United Nations, 2011
Manual Operations First, overburden is removed then block or slab is extracted (drilling and
channeling, using hand chisels and hammers) block or slab is split manually block or slab is
loaded into trucks manually

Mechanized Operations First, overburden is removed (blasting) block or slab is extracted

(drilling, using compressors and drilling machines) block or slab is split using (semi) mechanized
techniques large blocks are loaded into trucks by cranes However, the development of granite
industry is in somewhat satisfactory but the position of labours those who are working in granite
quarrying and processing industry are not good. The labours of granite industry are in front of
number of issues and problems either in quarrying or in processing activities in their work place2.

Problems of Labour in Granite Industry

The problems relate to labours of granite stone industry in Chittoor district that instantaneously
necessitate to be addressed contain. The most central problems applicable to the labours of
granite stone quarrying and processing industry assessing in Chittoor district are as prearranged
the following.

a. Hazardous Working Conditions In granite quarries, workers are exposed to a high incidence
of the fatal occupational diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in non-mechanized processing units,
these diseases are also common. Accidents at work place, sometimes resulting in the death of
workers, occur frequently in industries. The labours are working under the circumstances of over
lauded sounds which may create hearing problems. Workers are also required to carry very heavy
weights, mainly in shallow quarries and in non-mechanized plants. Indispensable safety
provisions, such as dust masks, are largely absent. This is an infringement of human rights
especially in the case of industrial labors in Chittoor district3.

b. Labour Associations Labour in granite stone industry in Chittoor district is largely

unorganized. Consequently, in many granite stone processing units, labour unions are non-
existent and labours are not organized. Accordingly the labours do not having more of bargaining

2 Research carried out by Madhavan P. and Raj S. in Bundi district found around 55000 people working in the sandstone mines there. Of these,
85 % were migrant labourers, 94 % were SCs and STs approximately 20 % were children and 43 % were women who had been widowed. In
total, around 90 % were in debt to their employers (contractors), and so can be considered as bonded labourers.

3 Between a rock and a hard place: The exploitation for quarry workers in Tamil Nadu, by Peoples Watch. Commissioned by the India
Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), Dutch Working Group on Sustainable Stone (WGDN) and FNV, 2009 (unpublished).
power in fixation and hiking of their wages and other allowances. So granite industrial
entrepreneurs embittered the benefits of labours and they deteriorate the position of workers.

c. Migrant Labour In Chittoor district where the price of granite products has increased over
the past years, people who have a preference to invest the revenues in a business of their own
instead of working in a granite stone processing industry. As a result, various granite stone
processing units now and afterward exclusively give employment to migrant labours from nearby
districts and from Tamilnadu and Karnataka States. These labours are come largely from
underprivileged rural communities. Generally the labours belong to the lower class, or other
designated castes or backward classes and are typically landless and moderately poor. The
entrepreneurs have a preference to give employment to the people from outlying districts as they
can easily be made to work longer hours. Those who have had to migrate in search of labour
usually do not bargain or argue about their employment circumstances, and infrequently ask for
leave. So the migrant labours in Chittoor district could not get reasonable wages for their

d. Generating Child Labour The preponderance of the granite stone processing units is
predominantly employed by migrant labours from nearby the districts. Some of these migrant
labours fetch their families with them. In the district some of the granite units, there is
substantiation that families of migrant labours, including their children, are frequently also
employed in the granite stone processing industry. However, it remains unclear which tasks they
are set to perform. As women and children are in general considered unfit for employment in
stone processing but the root causes of women and child labour are acute poverty and the lack of
child-care amenities. When bonded labours die, their debts are often conceded on to their
families or to their children. These children are then mandatory to go out to work in order to
clear ancestral debts.

e. Problem of Additional Working Hours Nowhere in Chittoor district do workers in the

unorganized segment be given additional remuneration for the overtime they put in. This also
applies to workers in granite stone industry in Chittoor district. In some granite quarrying and
processing units overtime is compulsory, to the extent that labours in general challenge not reject

4 Mining in Bellary A Policy Analyses by Justice Santhosh Hegde, 2011 ( Mining_Article.pdf);
Bellary in the pits by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Civil Society, February 2011 (
to put in overtime for fear of losing their employment. Generally the entrepreneurs have shown
the details of wages on paid holidays in company accounts. But the actual statistical information
papers on paid holidays could not be found individually in the district5.

f. Remuneration The basic minimum wage in Chittoor district is Rs. 150-175 per day, but states
can set their own minimum wage levels. Some granite stone processing units pay wages beyond
the minimum. At the Stone Track Corporation, for example, basic wages of permanent workers
start at Rs. 5000 per month and supervisory staff earns Rs. 10,000 per month or more. However,
labours in wrapping are compensated on a quantity rate basis. It is not comprehensible whether
these wages are in fact living wages, e.g. sufficient to cover the basic needs of a modest
household, without the need for children to go out to work in order to supplement the household

g. Bonded Labour Even though the occurrence of bonded labour is more frequent in granite
stone quarrying and processing units in Chittoor district. Labours are not obligatory to deposit
money or identity papers with the owner of the industry. However, labours are inclined to accept
advances from their employer, which may consequence of high levels of indebtedness, forcing
the labours into bonded labour position. Advances are frequently conventional as a means to
ensure regular employment and full payment of wages. At times of high financial need, such as
marriages, funerals or illnesses requiring medical treatment, labours may take out higher loans
from their owner. Labours rarely manage to fully repay these higher debts and employers tend to
take advantage of the situation by paying out lower wages. Some employers actually wait for
opportunities to extend their loans to workers in order to obtain contemptible labour 6. These
workers are subsequently obligatory to remain in the employment of these employers for at least
another five years or more, at abridged wages. Although bonded labour is common in practice
throughout in Chittoor district, prosecution of this punishable offence is rare.

h. Problem in Access to Insurance and Compensation Benefits All the granite processing
units have Employee State Insurance (ESI) schemes in place, granting access to amenities.

5 The Global Slavery Index 2014 by Walk Free Foundation, 2014 (
content/uploads/2014/11/Global_Slavery_Index_2014_final_lowres.pdf); 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour by United States
Department of Labour, September 2014 (

6 Mining is considered as hazardous activity and as per ILO conventions 138 and 182 employment of children below 18 years is prohibited in
hazardous activities
Conversely, this scheme is not general practice. A key predicament is that many units repudiate
to keep a register of work force to keep away from responsibilities towards employees. In granite
quarrying, when accidents occur in the work place, compensation is generally not paid out.
Statistical information on accident reimbursement expenses in granite stone processing units
could not be found in Chittoor district.

The South Indian granite industry

India accounts for roughly 20 percent of the worlds granite resources. India is the second largest
exporter of raw granite after China. Major production of granite in raw as well as processed form
is presently concentrated in southern states of India: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The granite stone produced in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is being exported to different countries
in the world, among them China, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
The majority of the workforce in granite quarries are male workers, out of the total of 705
workers in the 18 surveyed quarries 77 percent are men and 23 percent are women. Women are
mainly involved in waste stone processing. Most of the workers engaged in stone quarry work
are from backward and scheduled castes (see chapter 3). Furthermore seasonal migrant labour
constitutes an important part of the workforce in granite quarries, especially in Tamil Nadu (73
% of the workforce). Often migrant workers are preferred over local workers; migrant workers
are more flexible and willing to work longer hours because they have fewer social and family

Prevalence of bonded labour

In the surveyed quarries in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, most workers are kept bonded to the
quarry through debt. About 54 percent of the local workers and 66 percent of the migrant
workers interviewed, reported that they owe large sums of money to quarry owners or
contractors. Most of the interviewed workers often have been working in the same quarry for
more than three years. Another finding underlining the prevalence of bonded labour is the lack of

7 The websites of some of the companies covered in this study are: 1) TAMIN (, 2) MML
(, 3) Bannari Aman Granite (, 4) Gem Granites (
and 5) Sri Krishna Granites (http://www.srikrishnagranites.
freedom of workers to leave the quarry and interact with people outside the quarry at ones own

Prevalence of child labour

The research findings indicate that there has been a decline in the magnitude of child labour in
granite quarries in Tamil Nadu compared to previous years.1 Out of the 12 quarries surveyed in
Tamil Nadu in 2 quarries direct or indirect employment of children was found. Out of the total of
510 workers in 12 quarries, 1 was a child below 14 years, 5 were in the age group of 15 to 18
years and the remaining workers were adult workers. In Karnataka the situation is different from
Tamil Nadu. Though there is some decline in the incidence of child labour compared to previous
years, they still constitute an important segment of the workforce, mainly in waste stone
processing. Children were present in five out of six quarries covered in this research. Children
accounted for almost 10 percent of the total workforce (4.6 % below 14 years and 5.1 % between
15-18 years). Not much difference in numbers of working children is found between quarries
producing for domestic and export markets. Active intervention from the state government is one
of the key factors that has contributed to the decline in child labour in granite quarries in Tamil
Nadu. When illegal granite mining became a political issue in 2012, the government appointed
special teams to visit all the granite quarries to check illegal mining activities. During the visits
labour rights violations such as the presence of children at quarry sites, lack of safety measures
and poor facilities for migrant workers were observed as well. The special teams warned quarry
owners to address these issues which put pressure on quarry owners not to engage children in
quarry operations. Furthermore this resulted in quarry owners asking seasonal migrant workers
not to bring their families to the worksite is an attempt to avoid problems related to child labour
and poor accommodation for workers families.

Informal employment agreements

8 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, published
by the United Nations, 2011 ( and OECD Guidelines for
Multinational Enterprises, published by OECD, 2011 ( inv/mne/48004323.pdf).
More than ninety percent of the workers in sample quarries are hired on an informal basis
without any written contracts. Even in quarries directly managed by the government, written
contracts only exist for a small proportion of the workforce who are employed on a regular basis.
Without employment contracts it is hard for workers to claim their legal entitlements like
minimum wages, overtime compensation and compensation in case of work accidents9.

Gender based wage discrimination

The researcher finding is the prevalence of gender based wage discrimination. Female quarry
workers involved in waste stone processing earn less than the legal minimum wage rates
prescribed by the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu state governments for unskilled workers in granite
quarries. The daily wage rates paid to male workers may seem at par or even higher than the
legal minimum wages for skilled and unskilled quarry labour prescribed by the governments; but
if we take the number of working hours into consideration the actual wages fall short of meeting
legal requirements. Overtime work is common but paid overtime is almost non-existent.

Poor living conditions and health and safety measures

In most of the quarries workers live in very poor conditions. Workers with families are provided
a small hut, while workers without families are housed in a common room without proper
facilities. The workers have limited access to healthcare or clean drinking water. Workplace
safety measures are almost always inadequate. Workers are exposed to occupational hazards like
silica dust, explosions and moving of heavy stones. Insufficient precautions are taken, personal
protective equipment and safety guidelines are often absent.10

Review procedure with natural stone companies Out of the 26 European natural stone
companies that were requested to review a draft version of this study report only 12 companies
responded. Most companies did not provide substantive answers to the question about their
insights in their supply chains at the level of quarries. Eight companies clearly stated that they do
not procure granite from the quarries surveyed in this study while only two companies said that
they have insight in their supply chain at the level of quarries. Out of the twelve companies that
9 From Quarry to Graveyard: Corporate social responsibility in the natural stone sector: a report published by the India Committee of
Netherlands, 2006.

10 Indo-German Export Promotion (IGEP) (, assessed 27 March 2015. 31 Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
(, assessed 27 March 2015.
responded to the request for review, four companies participate in corporate social responsibility
(CSR) initiatives (IGEP, TFT RSP, ETI) that aim to improve labour conditions in natural stone
supply chains. CSR initiatives claim to have insights in supply chains and adverse human rights
impact, but the publicly available information is insufficient to ascertain if and how quarry
workers in lower tiers of granite supply chains benefit from these initiatives11.

Labour rights violations in sandstone and granite quarries

Studies conducted by international and Indian NGOs in the mid-2000s on conditions of workers
in Rajasthans sandstone quarries showed serious labour and human rights violations that include
child labour, bonded labour, sub-standard wages, wage discrimination, unsafe working
conditions. Most workers in sandstone quarries were low caste migrants who are indebted to
their employers and work under conditions of bonded labour. Child labour was reported as a
common phenomenon in sandstone quarries. Children tend to start working in quarries long
before they reach the age of 14 and often perform hazardous tasks. Wage discrimination on caste
and gender lines was also reported, women received low wages compared to men and children
received even less. Legal limits to working hours were not respected and excessive overtime
seems to be part and parcel of the way work is organised in quarries. Till recently most of the
research on working conditions of the labourers in the Indian natural stone sector was
concentrated on sandstone quarries in Rajasthan. Little was known about the conditions workers
face in granite quarries which are largely concentrated in the South Indian states Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Many stakeholders in the granite industry maintained that
quarrying of granite is more mechanized and less labour intensive, and therefore not as prone to
labour rights violations as sandstone quarrying. In 2007, the Indian granite industry countered
allegations in the European media that it is employing child labour in quarries and processing
factories. In order to examine the working conditions in granite quarries a study was carried out
in 57 granite quarries in Tamil Nadu in 2009 by a Tamil Nadu based NGO. This study shows that
granite quarry operators in Tamil Nadu treat their workers unethically and in many ways they
also violate laws. Workers are paid poorly and receive hardly any legally mandatory benefits.
Migrant workers live at quarry sites in small, unsanitary huts and have limited access to
healthcare or clean drinking water. Hazardous working conditions are common. Workplace
11 ILO convention 29 (
en/index.htm), assessed 27 March 2015.
safety measures are categorically inadequate, leading to accidents and chronic disease. Many
quarries keep migrant workers confined through unfair wage and lending practices; some even
employ young children. Involvement of children was mainly observed in waste stone

Illegal mining in Tamil Nadu (A political issue)

Since 2010 many developments have taken place in the South Indian granite industry,
particularly in the state of Tamil Nadu. Illegal granite mining became a political issue in Tamil
Nadu in 2012. In the period 2005 - 2010 the export demand of China for iron ore and granite
increased massively, among other reasons due to the Beijing Olympics. Along with the increase
in demand mining policies became more export oriented. The involvement of political leaders
and government officials in granite and iron ore mining leases increased since the early 2000s.
The reason is their influence on granting leases for quarries and the related potential for
corruption. These developments lead to illegal mining activities. Subsequently civil society
organizations raised concerns about the indiscriminate mining activities. The issue went to the
Supreme Court which resulted in a Court order for an enquiry into illegal mining practices. The
government appointed special teams to check illegal mining activities. The licenses of several
units found involved in illegal mining operations were cancelled. In Madurai district of Tamil
Nadu itself, out of the 175 licensed granite quarries, 94 quarries had violated license norms,
while 51 others had committed major violations, including encroaching on revenue (government)
land and private land. During this period the quarry owners were alerted about labour related
issues as well (minimum wages, child labour, facilities for migrant workers etc.). Special teams
appointed by the government noted the presence of children at quarry sites, lack of safety
measures, poor facilities for migrant workers and warned the quarry owners to address these
issues. The issue of illegal mining also received wide attention and became a political issue in
Karnataka. The focus in Karnataka is mainly on iron ore and not on granite mining.

Social and environmental risks for natural stone companies

12 ILO, 2005, A Global Alliance Against Forced Labour, Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principle
In 2013 the Dutch government contracted the consultancy firm KPMG to conduct a risk
assessment into the main economic sectors of the domestic economy. The report, published in
September 2014, has selected 13 priority risk sectors and describes the risks on environmental
degradation, labour rights and human rights violations for each sector. In the wholesale, retail
and building sectors risks in the natural stone industry (including the granite industry) are
indicated. These indicate high risks for the production of natural stone in India and China. Risks
include land rights violations and land grabbing, depletion of natural resources, deprivation of a
save and healthy living environment, labour rights violations including child labour, bonded
labour, unlawful wage rates and working hours and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.
Furthermore the chapter on the building sector states that it remains unclear if and how due
diligence is conducted by natural stone companies and that there is room for improvement for
(natural stone) companies to be transparent about social and environmental risks in lower tiers of
their supply chains. The risk of child labour and other labour rights violations in the Indian
natural stone industry are also addressed by the The Global Slavery Index 2014 and report on
2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. India ranks fifth in The Global Slavery
Index 2014 by prevalence of population in modern slavery. In the country sheet on India natural
stone is mentioned as one of the products known to be produced by using modern slavery like
bonded and forced labour. The report on the worst forms of child labour indicates the usage of
(forced or bonded) child labour in quarrying stones and breaking stones. In the present study
makes an attempt to assess the current situation of labourers working in granite quarries in Tamil
Nadu and Karnataka states. This study also aims to explore the current import and retail of Indian
granite by European natural stone companies.


The researcher has concluded that the granite industry in Chittoor district is being well on
economic point of view. As well as granite industry has been generating additional employment
opportunities to growing labour force in non-agricultural sector and for people in rural and semi-
urban areas. Although the living conditions of workers are very poor. The labours of granite
industry are associated with a lot of problems. The labours working with noisy and dusty
environment it is harmful to health. Workers, especially the migrant labours are cheated by
entrepreneurs by made of overtime with low wages this is due to absence of strong labour
associations. Government legislations are failed in preventing the child labour and in effectively
implementation of employee insurance schemes, and compensation benefits to labour families
particularly in granite industry in Chittoor district. So the government interaction is necessary to
avoided all the above such problems and for protect the labour and human rights.

The prevalence of modern slavery, child labour and gender-based wage discrimination are
serious human rights violations. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights (UNGP) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises clarify that states have
the duty to protect and enterprises have the responsibility to respect human rights. According to
the UNGP, if a government fails to fulfil its duty to protect, this does not exempt companies at
the buying side from their responsibility to respect human rights. This responsibility includes
performing a proper due diligence procedure which identifies, prevents and mitigates actual and
potential adverse human rights impacts.