Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jewellery shops remain shut on 20th consecutive day

Jewellery shops across the State remained closed for twentieth consecutive day on the call given by All India Sarafa Association, in protest against the Central Government’s decision to impose excise duty of 1 per cent on unbranded jewellery and 4 per cent import duty on gold.

Hundreds of Swarankars, under the banner of Swarankar Sangh Jammu Province (SSJP) held protest demonstration at Chowk Chabutra against the recently imposed excise duty on unbranded jewellery and import of gold.

Jewellers from Chowk Chabutra area and other parts of the city including Pacca Danga, Moti Bazaar, Purani Mandi, City Chowk, Kanak Mandi, Lakhdatta Bazaar, Peer Mitha, Link Road and Jain Bazaar participated in the protest along with their colleagues and raised slogans against the Central Government.

At Poonch, a rally was held under the presidentship of Raj Kumar Babber, President, Swarankar Sangh Jammu Province (SSJP), in which hundreds of jewellers of the district participated and expressed their anguish against the Central Government.

Amid slogans, Jewellers in the shape of a rally marched towards DC office and submitted memorandum to AK Sahu, DC Poonch, pertaining to their demands.

Talking to Jk News, Raj Kumar Babbar, President, SSJP, said that the Central Government was forcing them to adopt agitational path as the imposition of excise and import duty on gold was a serious issue and related to 10 lakh workers. He regretted that the Government was not paying any heed towards their genuine demands.

He said that they will come on roads, if the Central Government didn’t revoke the recently imposed taxes. He said that the jewellery shops across J&K will remain closed till the imposed excise and import duty were revoked.

"Nearly 1.50 lakh men were engaged in this profession and they would be rendered jobless due to mounting pressure of excise duty on unbranded jewellery and on import duty of gold", Babber said, adding that shooting prices of gold and excise duties are bound to recede the demands of jewelers thereby affecting the livelihood of small jewelers and retailers.

Among others, who joined the protest, included Kulbhushan Anand, president, Jammu city, SSJP, Parjan Anand, president, Sarafa Association, Ved Prakash Sethi, Chairman, SSJP, Ram Kapoor, general secretary, Rajinder Sehdev, cashier, Vijay Verma, vice president, Ashok Suri, joint secretary, Ashok Kumar Naggi, spokesman and Arun Sethi, vice president, Jammu city and other members viz jewellers of the State.

At Reasi, jewelers under the presidentship of Vijay Abrol, district president, took out a candle march in protest against the increase in the excise duty on gold. The jewellers were demanding immediate roll back in the recently imposed taxes.

Reports pouring in from other districts of the Jammu province including Doda, Kishtwar, Akhnoor, Kathua, Vijaypur, Rajouri Samba and Udhampur, revealed that the jewellery shops also remained closed there and all the Swarankars from these districts held protest against this move of the Central Government and demanded its immediate revocation.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Gold Dealers and Workers Association today observed one day hunger strike as their strike entered 20th day today to press for the rollback of the recent excise duty hike proposals which they fear will kill the legal business.

Scores of members of the Associationsat in protest at Hari Singh High Street since morning today while around a dozen of them were on hunger strike.

The gold shops and markets across Kashmir remained closed for 20 consecutive day today and traders continued protests against the budgetary proposals to raise duty on gold imports and levying excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

The president of the Association, Bashir Ahmad, said that for past several years the gold prices here gone up and affected the gold trade as common people can't afford it now.

The president of the Kashmir Chamber and Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Abdul Hamid Punjabi, expressed support on behalf of the chamber to them.

The chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, Mohammad Yasin Khan, along with the members of the Alliance today visited Hari Singh High Street and expressed support for the gold dealers.

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