Gold strike takes a turn for worse

New Delhi: Three-week old agitation by gold and jewellery traders against tax hikes in the Budget today turned violent as they clashed with the Police in Mumbai and disrupted trains in Ghaziabad. Traders staged dharnas in several parts of the country, including at Jantar Mantar in the national capital and at Zaveri Bazaar in South Mumbai.

They are protesting since presentation of the Union Budget which proposed increase in import duty on gold from two to four per cent, imposition of excise on non-branded jewellery. Traders said the measures would result in to increased paper work for them. A clash leading to a lathicharge was witnessed in Mumbai, while traders blocked several trains at Ghaziabad.

Most of the jewellery houses in the country remained closed. President of the All India Sarafa Association President Sheel Chand Jain said the strike will go on for an indefinite period until the government roll backs the taxes. "We are in talks with other (than bullion) traders to join us in our agitation," he said.

Haresh Soni, President, Gold Souk Mall Jewellers Association, said jewellery mall in the upmarket Gurgaon also remained shut. "The import of gold and silver has fallen significantly even as the demand is gathering for the ongoing marriage season," said Vijay Verma of Jeweller Trade and Welfare Forum in Delhi.