Ahmedabad: The jewelers of Gujarat are estimated to have lost business worth Rs 15,000 crore because of the nationwide strike by jewellers against the hike in custom and excise duties on gold proposed in the Union budget. The strike which began on Saturday was only partially over on Wednesday. Now, except the bullion association and jewellers of Ahmedabad, all other jewellers of Gujarat have decided to further extend the strike till Sunday.
“If you include the earnings of people employed in the jeweller trade on daily wages, the business of wholesale traders and the orders from retail jewellers, jewellers of Gujarat lost business worth of Rs 15,000 crore because of the strike,” said Shanti Patel, president of Gem & Jewellery Trade Council of India (GJTCI).
He further said that the size of business lost could have been higher if it was not the end of the financial year. “Further, if the marriage season or any festive season had also come at this period, our losses would have been higher than what we have suffered in the last five days,” Patel said.
Around 5 lakh retail jewellers in the country had gone on strike from Saturday. In Gujarat, more than 5,000 jewellers, including around 1,000 in Ahmedabad, had also remained close.
The nationwide strike is over but jewelers in the state outside Ahmedabad have decided to extend it till Sunday. "The Ahmedabad Choksi Mahajan Association, the bullion market of Ahmedabad, has decided to open shutters on Thursday. We don't intend to continue the strike any longer as we have already suffered huge losses due to missed business," said Harshvadan Dhaya Choksi, president of association. Shanti Patel said GJTCI had come to know that jewellers in Saurashtra region and the the southern part of the state including Vadodara and Surat, have decided to extend the strike. "But jewellers in Ahmedabad will open their shops on Thursday," he said. Jewellers in Saurashtra will continue the strike till Sunday, said Bhayabhai Saholiya, president of Rajkot Gold Dealers Association. "The association of Vadodara and Surat has also joined us," he said. In Rajkot, on Wednesday morning, a few branded jewellers had opened their stores but later closed them.
On Friday, the Union finance minister had proposed a hike in basic customs duty on standard gold bars; gold coins and platinum. In sync with these, basic duty on gold ore, concentrate and dore bars for refining have also been enhanced.