Srinagar, March 12: With gold prices going through the roof, the Valley jewellers have stopped selling the yellow metal.
President of the All Gold Jewellers and Workers Association, Bashir Ahmad Rather told Rising Kashmir that they have stopped selling gold coins till the prices stabilise.
â€œOur people are being looted and we cannot let that happen. Why would we buy and sell gold at higher prices, when all the other people outside Kashmir are getting it at lower costs? We took this decision keeping in view the larger interests of the common people,â€ Rather said.
He said that the prices are much higher in Kashmir as compared to the rates in national and global markets, which he said should be regulated.
â€œWe are getting gold at very high prices from Delhi and consequently, prices in Kashmir have skyrocketed,â€ he added.
In the recent weeks, the global and national prices have gone down by as much as 22 percent, with rates falling to an almost 11-month low to Rs 44,600 per 10 gram recently in India. But the rates in Kashmir continue to be consistently high.
Rather said that the jewellers are helpless as their profit margins in gold coins have also suffered because of the high rates that they have had to buy the gold at. â€œWe are aware that the people in Kashmir have been facing many hardships due to the rise in gold prices, and the wedding season is also almost here. But we request the customers to stop buying gold until the rates come down,â€ he added.
Rather, however, refuted the allegations about black marketing. â€œNo gold smith is involved in black-marketing. We are as powerless in this matter as the common people,â€ he said.
He requested the public to be patient and defer their plans for buying gold for at least 15 days until the issue is remedied.
He said that their association is also demanding the introduction of 24-carat gold products in Kashmir. â€œWe will meet the relevant government representatives in this regard,â€ Rather said.
However, Assistant Director Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said that the department has not received any complaints from customers about high gold rates. â€œIf we receive any such complaint, we will take action," he said.
While rates continue to soar and department officials continue to wait for complaints, customers looking to buy gold in Kashmir have been left high and dry.