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Need to make bullion bazaar safer

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Security, the watchword: A section of South Avani Moola Street in Madurai.
Security, the watchword: A section of South Avani Moola Street in Madurai.

L. Srikrishna

Many jewellery showrooms in the city do not have CCTV or burglar alarms, say police

MADURAI: Many of the leading jewellers in the city have not fixed modern gadgets in their showrooms to keep a watch on visitors and enhance security, say police.

Though the police have been keeping vigil round-the-clock and detecting crimes at regular intervals, the absence of gadgets such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) or burglar alarm to alert the custodians of law in the event of a crime is a cause for concern.

Recently, the police had an interaction with the members of jewellers’ association. Some of the private security agencies’ representatives, who were present, stressed the need for deploying guards round-the-clock and offered to provide skilled personnel.

A senior police officer said that though nothing untoward was reported in the recent past in the bullion bazaar, a glance at the records of the last 5 to 10 years revealed that major offences such as waylaying and robbery had occurred.

About 60 per cent of the crimes were solved while the remaining cases were under investigation.

The jewellers admitted that not many among their employees had adequate skill to check the authenticity of credit cards.

Most of the jewellers transported gold bars and silver articles from one place to another in two-wheelers and some times travelled in public transport to cities such as Chennai and Kochi. It is learnt that the articles were not insured as well.

Last week, three persons from a shop in Madurai bazaar had been to Chennai carrying with them about Rs. 40 lakh to buy jewels.

When they were about to return to Madurai without buying any jewellery, an armed gang waylaid them and escaped with the cash after assaulting the trio.

Though the incident had occurred in Chennai, the merchants’ movements were monitored, the officer said and underlined the need for safety.

Second biggest

Next to Mumbai jewellery market, the bullion bazaar in Madurai is the biggest in the country, say jewellers.

“There are about 1,400 big, medium and small showrooms selling gold and other jewellery, including diamond and silver articles, said Madurai Jewellers and Bullion Merchants Association president M. Balasubramanian.

Watch visitors

While admitting that not many shops followed safety aspects, Mr. Balasubramanian hoped that the jewellers would install at least simple gadgets to watch visitors.

Commissioner of Police K. Nandabalan said that the police were in the process of enumerating the bullion bazaar area and appealed to the merchants to cooperate with them as it would ultimately help in prevention of crime.

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