World Rainforest Movement

India: Slavery and child labour in granite quarries

PeA_IndiaIndia is the second largest exporter of granite, much of which ends up on the European market. The main buyers of granite are the construction sector, the funeral industry and the retail sector (kitchen countertops, garden ornaments, etc.) However, most importers of Indian granite give no information from which quarries they are sourcing their granite or say they do not know from which quarries the stone comes from. The recent report “Rock Bottom – Modern Slavery and Child Labour in South Indian Granite Quarries” examines the working conditions in 18 granite quarries in 2 South Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, identifying serious human rights violations, including child labour and bonded labour through debt. Entire hills are disappearing and turned into mine stones, affecting local communities –especially indigenous peoples. Besides, deep mines have drawn the water from the neighbouring areas drying up the wells and ponds, while the dust from the crushers have polluted not only the air but also the rivers, to the point that they become unfit for human or animal consumption.

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