New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) Import of asbestos, considered as a health hazard, from countries like China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Brazil has declined in the last three financial years, Parliament was informed today.
White asbestos is used for various purposes like asbestos cement pipes, roofing, asbestos-based manufacturing of items like brake linings etc and Indias requirement for the material is met through imports as mining of the same is banned in the country on health grounds, Union minister Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha.
However, as per the information from Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics and Indian Bureau of Mines for previous three fiscals and April-September of FY18, it can be seen there is continuous decline in import of asbestos from supplying countries, he added.
Total asbestos import from Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, China and other countries dropped to 310,570 tonnes in 2016-17 from 396,470 tonne in 2014-15 and 355,660 tonnes in 2015-16.
The minister said that during April-September of the ongoing fiscal, India imported just 162,740 tonnes of asbestos.
To another query related to whether the government proposes to curb imports of the "deadly material of asbestos", Chaudhary said information in this regard is not held in the Mines Ministry since import/export of minerals is regulated through EXIM policy of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
However, steps have been taken for regulation and safe use of asbestos in India.
Banning of grant of fresh mining leases and renewal of existing mining leases for asbestos on health grounds are among some of the measures taken by the government, he added. PTI ABI MR