Jewellers across State go on three day stir

People sitting outside closed jewellery shops in Jammu on Wednesday. -Excelsior/ Rakesh
People sitting outside closed jewellery shops in Jammu on Wednesday. -Excelsior/ Rakesh

*Over 25,000 shops remain closed
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 2: More than 25,000 jewellery shops across the State observed complete shutdown after the Union Budget was announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
In Jammu province, around 18000 jewellery shops and in Kashmir province, over 10,000 shops remained closed on the first day of the nation-wide strike call announced by All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (AIGJF) and Swarankar Sangh to protest the Government’s decision of hiking the excise and custom duties and making PAN card details necessary for purchase of jewellery above Rs 2 lakh.
Members of newly framed Sarafa Association and Swarankar Sangh Joint Action Committee, Jammu province headed by Raj Kumar Babbar, Vice President, All India Swarankar Sangh and President, Swarankar Sangh, Jammu Province claimed that by taking anti-jeweelers decision, BJP is also doing same mistake, which has been done by then Union Finance Minister of Congress Morarji Bhai Desai in 1962 and then Union Finance Minister of Congress Pranab Mukherjee in 2012, which led to agitations.
“If BJP will repeat the history again, they might face the same fate like Congress faced during elections”, they warned.
They requested Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to roll back the imposed Excise Duty and other anti-jewellers decision otherwise he will be responsible for the agitation and its consequences.
“We are not going to accept the hike in excise duty and other anti-jewellers decision”, said Raman Suri, Chairman, Sarafa Association and Swarankar Sangh Joint Action Committee, Jammu Province. He said the strike would remain in effect for the next two days as they are expecting the Union Government to come out with solution to their demands by such time.
Raj Kumar Babbar, Vice President, All India Swarankar Sangh and President, Swarankar Sangh, Jammu Province said that the Budget has proposed Excise Duty of 1 per cent on unbranded precious jewellery, doubling customs duty on standard gold bars, gold coins and platinum to 4 per cent which is unfair as it will not only trouble big dealers in this business but ordinary jewellers will also be subjected to great hardship.
“Around 50 per cent of State’s population actually has PAN card. It will be difficult for genuine buyers like farmers and customers from cottage sectors to purchase jewellery above Rs 2 lakh even if they have white income. Jewellery business will be at stake after this PAN card fatwa”, he added.
He stated that this month, they have to pay taxes also and if shops remains closed, then how they will pay taxes. “We have to mortgage our property if the stir goes indefinite”, Babbar added.
“We are sure that the Union Government will realize the problem being faced by jewellers due to ever-declining business for the last four-five years and rollback the decision”, he added.
Apart from Raman Suri and Raj Kumar Babbar, the bandh will be led by Parjan Kumar Jain, President, Sarafa Associaiton Jammu, Kulbhushan Anand, President, Swarankar Sangh Jammu District, Vijay Kumar Verma, General Secretary, Sarafa Association Jammu, Surinder Kumar Jain, Treasurer, Sarafa Association Jammu, Ram Kapoor, General Secretary, Swarankar Sangh Jammu Province and Ajay Vaid, General Secretary, Swarankar Sangh Jammu.
Meanwhile, the people across the State, who have marriage or some other functions, also faced problems due to closure of the jewellery shops. They also urged the Union Government to take immediate decision and provide some relief to the people of the State in particular and country in general by resolving the issues of jewellers.

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