Over 15,000 jewellers across Gujarat kept their businesses shut on Monday as they joined the nationwide strike against the implementation of Hallmarking Unique ID (HUID) system, industry stakeholders claimed. The ‘token strike’ against HUID was called by the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) and supported by various associations across the country, including Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, nearly 6,000 jewellery shops and showroom owners joined the strike demanding a simpler hallmarking process, claimed Jigar Soni, president of the Jewellers’ Association of Ahmedabad. The call for strike was received well as majority of the jewellers kept their businesses shut,” he said.
Besides Ahmedabad, all prominent jewellery markets in Rajkot and various other cities also wore a deserted look since morning as shops remained closed. Industry stakeholders claimed that around 4,000 units in Rajkot and 3,500 shops and showrooms in the entire south Gujarat, including Surat, remained shut. Hundreds of jewellers in other parts of state also extended their support and refrained from opening their outlets, they said. “We are not against hallmarking. We are worried about the newly introduced HUID, because it will consume a lot of our time and the process is also not simple,” said Arvind Patadiya, a prominent jeweller from Rajkot. Under this new system, a unique code will be given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking, he said, adding that the code will help in identifying the jeweller as well as the customer. “It will take over two weeks just to get an HUID stamp on a piece of jewellery. This will finish our business. Imagine the time and energy we will spend just to get an HUID stamp,” he said. He claimed this system will eventually bring the “Inspector Raj” back. “To keep a check on benami transactions, the HUID also carries information about customers. We want the government to make the process more simple and fast. I am confident that the Centre would take a favourable decision,” said Patadiya. Surat-based jeweller Dipak Choksi claimed that around 3,500 jewellers from south Gujarat joined the strike on Monday