Jewellers strike despite re-look talk
Even as finance minister Pranab Mukherjee promised to look into the demands for rollback of his Budget proposal to tax gold jewellery, traders continued their strike for the 12th day.delhi Updated: Mar 29, 2012 00:29 IST
Even as finance minister Pranab Mukherjee promised to look into the demands for rollback of his Budget proposal to tax gold jewellery, traders continued their strike for the 12th day.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi joined traders in their demand for rollback of excise duty on unbranded jewellery and hike in custom duty on gold. In a letter to Mukherjee, Modi also urged for a review of the proposal to make quoting of PAN mandatory for buying gold jewellery over Rs 2 lakh.
On Wednesday, Mukherjee said he would re-consider the proposal, but added, "Please don't insist on cut in import duty (on gold). It's not possible".
Despite rising losses, traders, continued their protest.
In Mumbai, Deepak Tulsiani of Dwarkadas Chandumal Jeweller in Zaveri Bazar, said, "The strike will not be called off till our demands are met."
Zaveri Bazar in south Mumbai alone is witnessing losses of around Rs 250 crore every day. Kumar Jain of Umedmal Tilockchand Zaveri Jewellery at Dagina Bazar said prices would go up after the strike is over.
In Kolkata, RR Agarwal Jewellers' Ratan Lal Agarwal said, "It is not only the jewellers' loss. The government is also losing out on taxes. The worst affected, however, are artisans. It will take a long time to make up for the losses."
In Ahmedabad, there are close to 4,800 jewellers and around 62,000 in Gujarat — all of them currently on strike. "More than 4 lakh daily wagers dependent on this industry are not getting any work. We have incurred Rs 16,000 crore losses in the last 10 days," said Haru Zaveri, secretary of Gujarat Jewellers Association.
In Hyderabad, over 1,100 shops and, jewellery makers and traders remained closed.
Corporate jewellery chains such as Tanishq were, however, open as they already pay the increased tax.
(With inputs from Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad)