Tamil Nadu

Not a sparkling time for anklet makers

Lion’s share: Salem’s famed silver ornament manufacturers make 50% of the country’s silver anklets. E. LAKSHMI NARAYAnan  

Elections are like festival time for many sectors. But for Salem’s famed silver ornament manufacturers, who make 50% of India’s silver anklets, seizures by surveillance teams come as a dampener.

They complain that surveillance teams seize even raw materials, suspecting that they are being used to make ornaments to be distributed among voters. The industry has urged the Collector to direct officials to seize only finished goods that lack documentation.

An estimated 10,000 units, employing about 1.5 lakh persons, make ornaments, especially anklets that are sent across India and exported too. After the crippling effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, the industry resumed business during Deepavali. Now, an increase in the price of silver to ₹72,000 a kg has led to reduced orders. “When a silver anklet is being made, it passes through 30 hands at different places. It is not possible to have documents for each stage of production. Most units are operating from homes and bills can be produced only for finished goods,” says K.V. Chandrapal, president, Salem Silver Leg Chain Manufacturers’ Association. The industry is expecting a good business during the coming Vishu festival, and poll-time seizures and the increase in the price may affect the trade, he says.

C. Srianandarajan, secretary of the Salem District Silver Kolusu Manufacturers Kaivinai Sangam, urges the administration to avoid seizing raw, unfinished goods while they are being transported within the district. “During the previous elections when goods were seized, people would wait until the elections were over and operate with the small orders they had. After the pandemic, the industry is severely affected, and very few units have orders now,” he says. It will not be possible to produce bills for raw materials, he says, adding that about 50 villages are into the manufacture of anklets.

Since it is similar to a cottage industry, not everyone will be able to produce documents, he says. At least 20% of manufacturers left the trade during the lockdown.

R.P. Gopinath, a manufacturer, says most units work on job orders and will not have bills to be produced at the stage of manufacturing. The anklets are transported by workers in small quantities. But election officials say only finished goods are being seized and the individuals can get them back by submitting documents to the appeals committee.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 10:29:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/not-a-sparkling-time-for-anklet-makers/article33992856.ece

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