Sikandara, June 24 : Known for its sandstone reserves of 900 million tons, Rajasthan holds its own significance as far as the stone industry in the country is concerned. But the recent Gujjar agitation has badly affected it.
Spread over Dholpur and Karauli district, Sikandara village, Hindaun, Bijolia and Jodhpur, these sandstone reserves are considered better than marble, owing it to its long lasting shine and a smooth finish.
But, shopkeepers in Dausa's Sikandara area today complain of having suffered huge losses during the 28-day-long Gujjar agitation.
Mukesh Saini, a spokesman for the sandstone processors' union, said that some of the sculptures were badly damaged and some shops that were close to the places of protest at Pilupura, Bayana and Sawai Madhopur were burnt.
People fled the place as soon as the tension began. So, he was not sure whether it was the police or the protesters who had damaged the shops. About 15,000 artisans who work there are not being paid for now, Saini said.
The artisans, however, are seeking compensation from the Rajasthan Government.
"For the last one month, we have not been paid. The contractors complain that they have nothing to pay us due to heavy losses incurred during the Gujjar protests. Now the government should compensate us," Sujan Saini, an artisan, said.
A number of historical buildings, including the Stupas at Sarnath , the Red Fort and the Rashtrapati Bhawan are made of Rajasthan sandstone.
The demand for this stone is high. It is also exported to countries in the Middle East, Europe, Korea, Australia and Japan.