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Excise duty on unbranded jewellery: No sign of end to jewellers' strike; lathicharge in Ahmedabad
April, 04th 2012

Jewellers across the country today intensified their strike by blocking roads and holding dharnas in various parts of the country .

Jewellers in Ahmedabad were baton-charged when they tried to block traffic on busy Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway. Protesting traders blocked traffic in Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot.

Bullion markets in Chennai, however, remained open for regular trading.

Jewellers are protesting a hike in import duty and excise duty on unbranded jewellery.

They have gone on strike ever since the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget on March 16 proposed one per cent excise duty on unbranded jewellery and doubling the import duty to 4 per cent on gold. The strike entered the 18th day today.

With traders' associations orgainsing dharnas in various parts, the strike is now spreading to small towns as well, bullion traders said.

The agitation had turned violent yesterday as protesters clashed with the police in Mumbai and disrupted trains in Ghaziabad.

All-India Sarafa Association President Sheel Chand Jain said the strike will go on till the government roll backs the taxes imposed.

Traders said imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery may lead to heavy paper work for small traders.

With bullion traders on strike since March 17, gold imports are likely to witness a decline in the month.

"March is usually a lean period for jewellery business. However, this year there were important festivals like 'Gudi Padwa', considered auspicious for purchasing gold. Jewellers incurred huge loss during this period," Bombay Bullion Association President Prithivraj Kothari said.

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