FROM OUR Special Correspondent
Silchar, July 14: In a hallmarking awareness programme organized by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) at Gandhi Bhawan in Silchar on Friday in association with Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS), Cachar, and Nikhil Assam Swarshipli Samiti, Silchar branch, customers, traders and businessmen of jewellery, gold and silver, were briefed in detail about the imperative need of buying, trading or selling of orments with the hallmarking. It was a programme that could be said to be a part of the slogan ‘Jago Grahak Jago’.
At the outset, Biplob Kumar Goswami, general secretary, GSS, hailed the decision of the NDA Government to make hallmark compulsory in the larger interest of the customers. Goswami while appreciating the move as a better scheme said it would be a step to stem corruption and save the customers from being fleeced by dishonest traders. It would at the same time ensure quality and also become cost effective. He demanded a centre for hallmarking here for better coordition and for time saving process.
Amit Roy, BIS director, articulating his views before the assembly pointed out the demand for gold and silver orments has been increasing quite in consistent with the rising population of the country. In 1982, the demand for gold was 62 ton which has now jumped to 800 ton per year. Of this 800 ton, 80% are used in making jewellery, 15% go for investment in diverse forms and 5% for multifarious products. According to him, India ranks first in importing gold followed by Chi.
Presently, there are 6 lakh retail shops dealing in gold and silver and 1 lakh manufacturing centres in the country. There is enough scope for employment in this business as one centre employs 10 to 20 skilled labour. It was in the Geneva Convention of 1972 that hallmarking on gold products was made compulsory. It was, as pointed out by Roy, in the year 2000 that the hallmarking system was introduced in this country. He cautioned in another 6 months hallmarking on gold and silver orments would be mandatory so that customers are not deceived.
Amit Roy made it clear that BIS has been given absolute authority to monitor and process hallmarking. In Northeast, 363 licenses have been issued while in Barak Valley it is 22 only. It would now be thoroughly examined to see that no shop functions without license. He appealed to all the jewellery shops to apply and get license without which they will not be allowed to do any business. He assured the applicant of compliance within 7 working day. After the conclusion of the programme, application forms were distributed among them.
Amit Roy also made it clear that at the initial stage, the license would be given for 3 years and after monitoring the quality on yearly basis, the license would be extended or held up. In case of any malpractice by any one, license would stand cancelled. The entire exercise is aimed at better services to the customers while not denying the due justice to the traders and shop owners. He described it as a ‘win-win arrangement’ for both. In an interactive session with the traders and customers, Amit Roy answered many questions thrown at him for their clarifications. Still he said in case of any confusion or query, he was ready to answer.
On the certification of jewellers, Roy clarified only BIS licensed can get their jewellery and artefacts assayed and hallmarked from BIS recognized centres. He advised the customers to use magnifying glass available with the traders for ensuring the hallmarking of the gold or silver products. In case of any malpractice, they can approach the nearest assaying and hallmarking centre or write direct to the BIS at Guwahati. Also present on this occasion was MLA of Udharbond, Mihir Kanti Shome, Dr. Arun Kumar Bhattacharjee, former principal, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, as well as Parimal Deb.