Srinagar, Oct 9: Though the price of gold has marked steep hike since October last, the demand for it in Valley has not shown any sign of decline for some obvious reasons.
Amidst this price hike and demand, a section of gold dealers seized the opportunity to make a quick buck by resorting to devious means and methods. The state government seems to be least interested to ascertain whether or not the set rules, whatsoever, governing the sale and purchase of gold ornaments are being adhered to by the concerned dealers.
Hardly any dealer puts on display the rate list, showing rate for 22 carat gold needed for making ornaments. Making charges too vary from shop to shop. There is not specific procedure for determining the making charges (labour). "No doubt making charges will vary from design to design. Some designs are complicated and some simple. However, designs can be categorized into two or more groups and making charges per gram determined accordingly," said a goldsmith.
Regarding deduction of "Watt Kasar (adulterated gold used for alignment of joints or pieces)," there is not any set rule. Some dealers make deduction at the rate of 20 percent, some 15 and some 10. In Jammu, there is almost 10 percent deduction everywhere.
In the Valley the 'Watt Kasar' is deducted by the gold dealer when the customer either wants to sell ornament or get it recast to make it into a new one. Goldsmiths use inferior quality or adulterated gold for watt (alignment). Some dealers deduct only 5 percent of total value of gold when the customer wants to sell the ornament back to them. They name the deduction amount as profit. They say that they make alignment with solid gold. Hence no question of deduction. They charge making charges of ornament at the rate some reasonable amount per gram. The customers buying gold ornaments from such dealers are always satisfied.
However, most of the goldsmiths are not ready to buy the argument that unadulterated gold is used for the alignment of joints.
There is also wastage charge. When a customer wants ornament made of solid gold, he is charged 10 percent wastage at the time of buying. Suppose the ornament weighs 10 gm, the customer has to pay for 11 gm. This wastage is not also charged by the dealers that deduct only 5 percent when the customer sell them back the ornament.
The Gold Dealers and Workers' Association secretary, Bashir Ahmad says that gold dealers deduct 20 gm as 'Watt Kasar' for recasting the ornament into new one as per the government order. He said that it had been agreed upon by the dealers with the government at a meeting chaired by the Minister of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Taj Mohi-ud-Din in 2003.
When contacted the minister said, "Yes, the meeting was held and some decisions were taken but I do not well remember now what percentage of deduction was agreed upon."
"The government should do what is just and reasonable. Gold ornaments are not onions or potatoes that they could be sold or bought back at 20 percent or 30 percent profit. Deduction on 10 gm gold at 20 percent today means at least Rs 1600. Same is the case of wastage at the rate of 10 percent on solid gold. If at all government has ever taken any decision incompatible with the public interest, it should immediately review it and come out with a just and reasonable mechanism for the sale and purchase of gold ornaments," said a government official Nisar Ahmad.