Hyderabad: Bengali goldsmiths trade loses sheen
Ghansi Bazar : ThE Bengali goldsmith community in Old City continues to struggle as nearly 40 percent of their earnings have come down and even post lo...
Ghansi Bazar : ThE Bengali goldsmith community in Old City continues to struggle as nearly 40 percent of their earnings have come down and even post lockdown the situation is yet to improve. Also not being recognised by the State government affects their interests.
In Old City, a majority of Bengali community resides in parts of Ghansi Bazar and its surrounding areas. Most of them,despite their families residing in city the past 70 years, are yet to get proper recognition from the State government. The pandemic and the lockdown triggered further hit them hard, bringing down their earnings by as much as 40 percent.
"For the past 22 years, I have been living here and we have been fighting for our caste certificates. Out of the 1.5 lakh population only 20 percent have been recognised while others are still waiting.
But Covid lockdown had a different story for us; as the shops were shutdown we struggled to survive and we never got any support from the State government. Even after the lockdown there are a few orders and 40 percent business has been hit," rued Amarnath Ghosh, a goldsmith.
According to some estimates, around 1.5 lakh population of Bengali community reside in the Old City and 90 percent are from goldsmith background. Their lives depend on the thriving of jewellery industry. Several goldsmiths have been sitting idle without work for the past 10 months.
"Bengali goldsmiths are known for their hard work, but due to pandemic many have lost their livelihoods. I am one of them and forced to sell fish and I am hardly making any money from that.
As our community does not hold white ration cards, we are suffering a lot. If the State government provides caste certificates and extends other facilities, it would help us a lot," said Abdul Ahmed, another goldsmith.
As per the local goldsmiths, during the Nizam era, the royal families used to regularly place jewellery orders to craftsmen in West Bengal because of the unique and elegant designs crafted by them. Slowly, the goldsmiths migrated and settled down in various parts of Old City.
However, they claim that the State government or the local leaders never recognised the community and also during the lockdown, the community was ignored.
"For the past 5 years, I have settled down here. We are struggling for benefits from the State government. Earlier, we used to earn some profit from gold wastage but at present we are only getting charges for crafting the gold jewellery.
Hardly we are earning Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 per month and then we have to pay rent also," said Kuntal Shah, another goldsmith.