Scores of jewellers staged a protest rally on Saturday in Karol Bagh against the “abrupt” sealing of their shops by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation on the pretext of controlling pollution.
Organised by Delhi Swarankar Sangha, an association of goldsmith communities in Karol Bagh, the protesters claimed that municipal officials sealed their shops without prior information, rendering hundreds of goldsmiths jobless.
“Altogether 85 shops were sealed on May 16 in Beadonpura, Karol Bagh, rendering 600 goldsmiths unemployed, thereby making the life of 2400 family members miserable as they were dependent on them. The ongoing drive is threatening more than 20,000 goldsmiths in the national capital,” said the organisation.
Ahead of the protest rally, the organisation had called a press conference to point out lapses on the part of the civic authorities. They alleged that the North Corporation acted in a “harsh and hasty manner” as if the jewellers were criminals.
The Sangha alleged they were not even allowed to take out jewellery from their shops. The Sangha president Bivash Chandra Maity said, “We came before you to bring out the plight and misery of goldsmiths and their families who were declared by the Government of India as ‘artisans and skilled workers’ and our work as a ‘handicraft’. More than 20,000 goldsmiths or businessmen engaged in this trade in the national capital and their livelihood has been jeopardised following the unfortunate decision of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.”
They said they had submitted affidavits as sought by the civic body in the hope the authorities would reopen their sealed shops but it was in vain.
Maity said the sealing authorities did not give any receipts for the gold and diamond products in their shops. He wondered who would be held responsible if anything goes missing.