Hyderabad

Hyderabad turns gold ‘smuggling’ hub

Midas touch:An artisan shapes a piece of plastic for creating a mould that will be used for crafting small gold ornaments in the Chelapura area of Hyderabad.

Midas touch:An artisan shapes a piece of plastic for creating a mould that will be used for crafting small gold ornaments in the Chelapura area of Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

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Spurt in incidents due to a rise in the number of workshops of goldsmiths

The near simultaneous events of a looting of five kg gold ornaments from a jewellery workshop, and recovery of 15 kg gold ornaments being ferried to Bengaluru and Mysuru may appear unconnected.

But, Commissioner of Police V.V. Srinivasa Rao linked the two by saying Hyderabad is seeing a spurt in gold smuggling due to rise in the number of workshops of goldsmiths.

“Over the past eight to nine years, Hyderabad has emerged as a hub for wholesale gold trade due to a variety of reasons. There has been an influx of nearly 1 lakh artisans from West Bengal who are fast, hard working and have good craftsmanship skills. Most of them are working with small traders in Charminar area and have put Hyderabad on the national map,” said Mohanlal Jain of Pot Market Jewellers Association.

Areas near Charminar like Ghansi Bazaar, Urdu Galli, Rikabgunj, Chelapura are now hubs of gold trade as craftsmen, artisans and goldsmiths from West Bengal, Telangana and Maharashtra work together to create the shiny objects of desire.

Bengal connection

There are specialised units for making moulds and dies, melting, polishing, designing and encrustation work.

“I came here 12 years ago as there was no work in my home town. My specialisation is rings and necklaces. When I came here, there were perhaps 200 to 300 workers but now the number of craftsmen working here cannot be counted,” said Raju Das, who hails from Santoshpur near Howrah.

In the street lined with many Bengali signages in Rikabgunj, Sanjay Samanta has a three-storey building filled with craftsmen who shape and finish gold ornaments.

Though the building has a chawl-like appearance, it thrums with the sounds of fine lathes and the swish of goldsmiths using files to shape jewellery.

“We get samples of gold objects or designs and my men convert them into jewellery. I have artisans from Rajasthan as well as Telangana. One of the reasons for Hyderabad becoming a hub for goldsmiths and artisans is that both northern and southern designs are made here. There are a number of bigger units employing 400-500 workers,” said Mr. Samanta, who said he moved to the city 15 years ago to set up the unit.

It is this large number of skilled work base that is drawing a few unscrupulous gold traders to Hyderabad who get jewellery made at lower price and dodge taxes as well.

Interestingly, gold ornaments weighing about 15 kg were in the process of being transported to Karnataka to be sold by a firm under its own brand.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 5:58:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hyderabad-turns-gold-smuggling-hub/article23012305.ece

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