Vijayawada: Hallmarking a Herculean task, say miffed jewellers

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With lack of proper facilities for hallmarking and hardships involved in the process, hundreds of small gold traders in Krishna and Guntur districts have been facing tough task of complying with new hallmarking rules framed by the Central government.

Vijayawada: With lack of proper facilities for hallmarking and hardships involved in the process, hundreds of small gold traders in Krishna and Guntur districts have been facing tough task of complying with new hallmarking rules framed by the Central government.

Gold and jewellery traders in two districts will face many hardships, if the Central government puts pressure on them to follow the hallmarking rule wherein the traders have to sell only hallmarked gold articles with unique identification number known as HUID.

The two districts have only 15 hallmarking centres that are located in Vijayawada, Guntur and Mangalagiri. Gold traders doing business in Jaggaihpet, Machilipatnam,

Gudivada, Nuzvid and other parts of Krishna district have to visit the hallmarking centres located in Vijayawada. In all there are eight hallmarking centres in Vijayawada. They will test the quality of the gold article and print the unique identification number (HUID). As per the Central government norms, every gold article should have unique identification number. These hallmarking centres will send the details of every gold article they tested to Bureau of Indian Standard. The BIS gives unique HUID for each gold article. The gold traders have to pay charges to the hallmarking centres. The gold and jewellery traders have to visit these hallmarking centres twice--once to handover the gold articles and later to collect the articles after printing of HUID. The HUID is printed with the laser machine.

Traders doing business in the remote places like Reddygudem, Kaikaluru, Avanigadda, Koduru will face many hardships to get HUID. They have to visit Vijayawada for hallmarking. It will take one day to the traders to come to Vijayawada and return to the shop. Besides, there will be a huge demand for the printing of HUID and they have to wait several hours to handover the gold articles to the hallmarking centres.

The jewellers have to bear transportation charges and pay money for HUID. Finally, these charges have to be borne by the customers only. The customers will have benefit of BIS certified gold articles that will not give suspicion on the quality.

Similarly, the jewellers in Narasaraopet, Sattenapalli, Chilakaluripeta and other parts of Guntur district have to visit the gold hallmarking centres in Guntur or Mangalagiri. Only six hallmarking centres are located in Guntur district.

Krishna and Guntur districts have lakhs of gold customers and several hundred shops are doing business. The gold traders say the existing 15 hallmarking centres are not sufficient to cope with the business in the busy festival and marriage seasons.

Setting up hallmarking centre costs Rs 60 lakh to Rs80 lakh, said one of the hallmarking centre organiser. He said the hallmarking centres have to appoint sufficient trained staff to test the quality of gold and for hallmarking with laser machine. Besides, the staff has to maintain register on how many gold articles they received and how many returned to the customers.

The gold traders have to wait many days to get their gold articles printed with HUID. This will hamper the business, said some traders.

KSR Naidu, general secretary of Bezwada Bullion Merchants Association, told 'The Hans India' that implementation of hallmarking rules is not possible for the small traders because they cannot appoint staff to upload the details of every gold article they sell and maintain the details of gold articles with HUID. The goldsmiths and gold traders have been doing business for many centuries based on the trust of the customers, he emphasised.

Naidu said in a country like India where crores of people are still illiterate and gold workers don't have computer knowledge, it will be very difficult to upload the details of gold articles and send to Bureau of Indian Standard. He reminded that the gold traders and goldsmiths are already badly affected due to the impact of Covid and are not in a position to comply with the new hallmarking rules. He said the small jewellers and goldsmiths are demanding the Central government to withdraw the hallmarking unique identification number rule.

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