Rajasthani kids stone quarrying for British patios

December 26th, 2007 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec.26 (ANI): If one of Britains leading stone importers is to be believed, children as young as five are quarrying stone in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan that is used to build patios and for garden landscaping across the United Kingdom.
According to a report in The Telegraph, large sections of the gardening industry are turning a blind eye to the use of child labour in the sandstone quarries of Rajasthan.
The paper quotes Chris Harrop, a director of Marshall’s Plc, as saying that only about a third of the 200,000 tons of patio stone imported into the UK from India each year was sourced ethically, while the rest is often produced in atrocious conditions.
The paper further goes on to say that up to 100,000 children are employed in India’s quarry industry, which supplies almost three-quarters of the imported stone used in British patios and garden features.
Indian sandstone from Rajasthan is among the most popular, since it most closely mimics the expensive yellow Yorkstone which was traditionally mined in the Pennines but has now been all but exhausted through demand.
Ethically certified stone is said to cost 20 per cent more than the cheapest material available.
Quarry workers earn just 80 pence a day, while a single square metre of paving stone fetches about 35 pounds by the time it reaches Britain.
With such huge profit margins on offer, pressure is now growing on the industry’s main trade body to enforce a code of ethics.
Harrop says the industry’s response to his calls to clean up its act has not been encouraging.(ANI)

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