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    Default Striking jewellers to meet Pranab on Friday over rise in excise duty

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    Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would hold a meeting on Friday with the protesting jewellers on the issue of rollback in hike in duties. The striking jewellers said any decision on their indefinite strike would emerge only after the meeting with the finance minister.

    Meanwhile, a delegation of jewellers led by RJD President Lalu Prasad met Mukherjee. The finance minister has assured the delegation of "positive" action soon, Prasad said after the meeting.

    Jewellers in various parts of the country have been on a strike since March 17 to protest the hike in import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery. The proposal was announced during Mukherjee's Budget speech for 2012-13.

    The strike entered into the 20th day on Thursday.

    All other markets, including the BSE, the NSE and commodity markets, also remained closed on Thursday on account of 'Mahavir Jayanti'.

    Delhi Jewellers and Goldsmith Association President Ram Avtar Verma said that jewellers will decide on whether to end the strike or not after meeting the Finance Minister.

    "We appreciate the assurance of a positive action by the Finance Minister to the agitating bullion traders and are hopeful of an early solution to the crisis," he added.



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