Valley jewellers lose crores as strike enters 19th day

Srinagar: On the 19th consecutive day on Monday, Valley-based jewellers kept their shutters down to protest against government proposal to levy 1 percent excise duty on all non-silver jewellery.
Due to the shutdown, the jewelers claim to have suffered losses worth Rs 2-3 crore.
They said that despite repeated pleas, the government has not paid any heed to their demands of rolling back of 1 percent excise duty.
In this regard, a protest rally was carried out in the retail gold hub of Srinagar city from Hanuman Mandir to Hari Singh Highstreet.
Bashir Ahmad Rather, president of All Kashmir Gold Dealers and Workers Association, said that a section of New Delhi media had wrongly disseminated the news that the strike was called off across India, “which is incorrect”.
“The media has shown it without any analysis to portray a wrong impact. However, the diamond sellers have called off their strike since they are rich. But I am sure law of the land treats everyone equal. Jewellers across India will continue to hold strike until the excise duty is not rolled back,” Rather said.
Commenting on the losses suffered due to the strike, Rather said there are 10,000 jewellers in Valley, who have suffered losses worth Rs 2-3 crore due to strike.
Valley jewellers on strike are part of the All India Jems and Jewellery Association strike, which has been observed from March 2 against the budget announcements especially the one regarding levy of 1 percent excise duty on gold.
Rather said the strike is also being observed by goldsmiths, workers who do polishing of ornaments and gold units in Srinagar and in other districts of Valley.
“Bulk of the population in Kashmir does not have a PAN card. We will lose a large clientele if the new rule of PAN card is not rolled back,” Rather said.
Gold Jewellers across the Valley should not pay heed to rumours and continue the strike untill the association arrives at a suitable decision, he said.