WITH THE wedding season on, residents returned disappointed as they could not get gold and diamond jewellery in the Tricity on Wednesday. For, 750 jewellers in the Tricity are on strike till March 4.
Unhappy with the government imposing excise duty on the gold and diamond jewellery and making PAN mandatory on purchase of jewellery of over Rs 2 lakh, the jewellers shut down their shops in protest. They even threatened to go on an indefinite strike if no action was taken. Excise duty of 1 per cent has been proposed on the jewellery.
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Rajiv Sahdev, president of the Jewellers Association, Chandigarh, said, “If the government agrees to our demand till Friday, then we will open our shops, else we will go on an indefinite strike. They have imposed excise duty, there is no change in import duty. Moreover, they have made PAN mandatory.” A meeting was also held on Wednesday wherein jewellers from Panchkula and Mohali participated.
Visitors to the jewellery shops were seen returning disappointed. There were some who had booked their jewellery and had to collect it on Wednesday.
“It is my sister’s wedding. We had booked a design of a gold set. We were given today’s date but the shop is shut,” said Ritu Dahiya, a resident of Sector 18, Chandigarh.
Similarly, Sarika Chauhan, a resident of Sector 10, Chandigarh, had come to finalise a gold set for her would-be daughter-in-law but was shocked to see the shops shut. “Yesterday, when I had come to see some designs and told them that I will finalise it on Wednesday, they never told me anything about the strike. How will I manage? My son’s wedding is on Friday,” said Chauhan.
Jewellery buyers went through a harrowing time in Panchkula and Mohali as well.
“It is my niece’s first birthday and I had to get a gold chain for her. I went to Chandigarh too but all the shops are shut,” said Jasneet, a resident of Sector 11, Panchkula.
Virender Verma, a member of Panchkula Jewellers Association, said that all shops in Panchkula district would also remain shut in support of the protest.
Sarbjeet Singh Paras, president of Jewellers’ Association, Mohali, said that there was a call to close the shops in the Tricity. He said that 1 per cent excise duty imposed by the government was taking a toll on the jewllers and they would protest against it.