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Delhi gold units face closure in pollution drive

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The Delhi government’s anti-pollution drive is threatening to shut down north India’s biggest hub of goldsmiths ahead of the wedding season. Gold and silver jewellery worth Rs 2,800 crore are produced annually in these localities.

Around 12,000 units in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh area, mostly owned by businessmen who migrated from Bengal to make ornaments for big jewellery chains and showrooms, will be affected.

“We are shocked by the sealing drive as we were notified as non-hazardous and labelled green in Delhi’s masterplan for 2021. Our business has come to a grinding halt just ahead of the north Indian wedding season,” said Bivash Chandra Maity, general secretary of the Delhi Swarnakar Samity.

The decision to seal the units was taken on the directions of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), Delhi government officials said. They, however, could not explain why the goldsmiths were being targeted after being cleared as a green industry by the state’s masterplan.

In 2017, the anti-pollution authority had ordered the Delhi government to take action against industrial units running in non-conforming areas.

The Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation then came out with a list of such units on the basis of a survey.

“We have fulfilled all pollution norms for gold jewellery factories and have invested huge sums in modern machinery to do our work, including treatment plants for acid water waste, the main pollutant emanating from our industry,” said Maity.

Most of these businessmen came to the capital, traditionally the hub for gold jewellery in north India along with Jaipur, as artisans and graduated to independent entrepreneurs. They catered to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, part of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, as well as exports.

“The sealing will not only impact the domestic market in a big way but also the export market. About a third of our production is for the country’s big gold jewellery exporters,” said Rabindra Nath, senior vice-president of the Delhi Swarnakar Samity.

Gems and jewellery contribute nearly 7 per cent to the country’s GDP and over 15 per cent to exports.

Courtesy: The Retail Jeweller News Service.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”6276″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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