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Jewellers begin three-day strike

Special Correspondent
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In protest against Union Budget proposals on gold

Jewellery shops in Raja Street in Coimbatore remain closed on Saturday. –Photo: K. Ananthan
Jewellery shops in Raja Street in Coimbatore remain closed on Saturday. –Photo: K. Ananthan

Over 500 jewellery shops, big and small, shut shop here on Saturday as part of the national-level three day strike called by the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, in protest against the levies proposed in the Union Budget on jewellery.

The shops will remain closed on Sunday and Monday too, said D.R. Raghunath, former president of Coimbatore Jewellers' Association.

The jewellers are protesting against the levy of Excise Duty on unbranded jewellery and increase in Customs Duty on gold bars, gold coins and platinum.

“There are several operational problems if the duties are levied. Business will be paralysed. Unlike other sectors where the duties are levied at the manufacturing level, here it is at the selling point. This was an unexpected move,” he says.

Jewellery outlets in the nearby towns, including Pollachi, Udumalpet, Tirupur, Palladam and Sathyamangalam, also remained closed.

In Coimbatore, the jewellers would incur about Rs. 100-crore loss because of the three-day strike, he said.

Coimbatore is a major jewellery making centre in the State with more than 20,000 units that supply jewellery to different parts of the country. According to B. Muthu Venkatram, the Coimbatore Jewellery Manufacturers' Association would support the three-day strike of the jewellers. The Excise Duty levy should be removed as it would make operations difficult for the small-scale jewellers, he said.

Salem

Nearly 300 big and medium shops and 1,000 small shops in Salem district are participating in the strike.

The jewellers in Salem, one of the leading centre for gold and gold ornaments in Tamil Nadu, had unanimously decided to support the nation-wide strike call.

A meeting of Tamil Nadu Jewellers Federation presided over by its former general secretary Sriram, and that of Salem City Gold, Silver and Diamond Traders Association presided over by president R. Singaram, said that these Budget proposals should be rolled back to save the gold industry. Mr. Sriram and Mr. Singaram said that medium and small traders would be badly hit since it was proposed to impose a 1 per cent Central Excise Duty on unbranded jewellery. Some of the leading branded shops such as Joy Alukkas and Tanishq remained open.

Erode

More than 1,000 jewellery store in Erode district remained closed on Saturday.Jewellers urged the government to roll back the excise duty on jewellery immediately. Otherwise, the jewellery business in the country would be badly affected.

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