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    Default Jewellers call off strike after meeting Pranab

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    Bullion traders and jewellers on Friday called off their 21-day nationwide strike after meeting UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who assured them that their demand for rollback of excise duty on unbranded jewellery would be considered.

    "We have notified all our members to call off the agitation with immediate effect," Dinesh Jain, Director of Governing Board, All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, said.

    Most of the jewellery shops would open from tomorrow.

    Traders are estimated to have lost Rs 20,000 crore due to the strike which began on March 17 after presentation of the Budget on the previous day.

    Jewellers, however, threatened that strike would resume again if the proposal to levy excise duty of one per cent is not withdrawn in the Finance Bill, which is expected to come up before Parliament early next month.

    "The strike has been suspended till May 11, as the Finance Minister has assured us on a decision on rollback on excise duty and customs duty by first week of May," Jain said.

    Delhi-based All India Sarafa Association General Secretary Surendra Jain also said that their members have also agreed to suspend the strike.

    Some of traders who met Mukherjee, said the Finance Minister has assured them that their grievances with regard to levy of 1 per cent excise duty on unbranded jewellery would be addressed.

    Before traders met Gandhi, Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said the party has asked the government to consider jewellers' demand sympathetically.

 

 

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