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BIS directive alarms small gold vendors

GUWAAHTI, May 24: The recent directive of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on hallmarking of gold ornament has become a nightmare to the medium and small jewellry shops in the state. As, according to the directive, the BIS has made hallmarking a mandatory norm to be followed by all the big, medium and small gold vendors in order to certify the purity of the metal.

From an overview, the directive sounds quite impressive. However, it seems to wipe out the small and medium gold vendors from the trade for two obvious reasons. Firstly, the directive prescribed a minimum weight of 10 gm containing at least six pieces of gold ornaments to attain a hallmark. It is speculated that the medium and small gold vendors may not meet this criteria. Secondly, till date there are only two hallmarking centres in entire Assam – one in Guwahati and another at Silchar. Under such given situation, accessing the hallmark certification from these two designated centres by a small vendor from far-flung district may appear to be impossible. As such, the directive may turn into a nightmare not only to the vendors but also the goldsmiths who earn their bread and butter from this profession.

Expressing concern over the recent BIS directive, the Nikhil Assam Swarna Silpi Samiti organizing secretary Prashanta Roy in a press meet in Guwahati on Thursday said that the mandatory guideline is an effort to destroy the small and medium gold vendors. Terming the guideline as the Centre’s pro-corporate scheme, Roy appealed to the BIS to defer the guideline which otherwise, he added, will bring hardship to the lives of the goldsmiths working as small and medium vendors located in various remote districts of the state.

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Ankur Kalita