Despite the soaring gold prices, City shoppers have had no qualms investing in the precious metal. But for those of who’ve had to put gold shopping on hold thanks to the jewellers’ strike, there’s good news. Several jewellery stores, while outwardly complying with the strike, offered their customers backdoor entries.
More than 2,000 stores that fall under several associations have been on a strike since the last 16 days to protest against the proposed increase in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. However, this two week long strike has left jewellers incurring heavy losses. It’s probably this that drove several gold stores in the City to conduct backdoor business.
“I had to buy something urgently last Friday and went to one of the jewellery stores in Basheerbagh. While one of them was open with half shutter, three others let us inside from the backdoor. These stores had watchmen stationed outside, who escorted customers into the store through a smaller side or back door. Much to my surprise and relief these stores were conducting business as usual and I could buy whatever I needed,” says Rajitha M, an IT professional.
While shoppers heaved a sigh of relief, this secret trade has landed a few jewellerss into trouble. A leading store in Basheerbagh was fined a penalty of `1 lakh by the associations for conducting business during the strike period.
“Until Sunday, most of the shops in this area conducted business on the sly but after the penalty everybody is now scared. Today (Monday) everybody has completely shut business. The employees of the stores even took out a rally to put pressure on the government,” says Balu, watchman at M Gopal Das store, who has been witness to all the happenings since the last two weeks.
“Our shop has been closed since the last 16 days. But despite the strike we have to come to the store and give our attendance.
We sit here the whole day doing nothing. I wonder when the strike will end. It’s a very difficult for a man like me who is the only earning member in the family,” says Srinivas K, employee, Sri Krishna jewellers.
This is the first time that gold shops have been shut for so long. Compliance with the strike is hitting the jewellers where it hurts. In the last 15 days stores have incurred losses to the tune of Rs.6,75,000.
“We are going through a very rough time. The government fails to understand that it’s a loss for them and us,” complains P Krishna, manager P Satyanarayana jewellers.
No of shops – 2000 plus
Losses incurred – Rs.6,75,000
Loss to the government – More than Rs.1.5 lakhs
Total employees – 4 lakhs
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