West Bengal jewellers’ strike: Mukherjee to look into issues

June 12th, 2009 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 12 (IANS) West Bengal’s jewellers, who went on a 72-hour strike earlier this week in protest against alleged harassment by income-tax authorities, say they have been assured by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that he would look into their complaint.
“We are very satisfied with the meeting. It was 100 percent successful. He read our memorandum and gave us the assurance that he will look into the matter,” Bablu De, president of one of the striking bodies, told IANS over phone from Delhi.

A five-member delegation that included De met Mukherjee late Thursday evening in the national capital.

The jewellers went on a three-day strike Monday, charging local income-tax officials with fixing valuation of pure gold for gold-coated bronze bangles and levying huge taxes.

Around 40,000 jewellers participated in the strike.

“They treat cheap American diamonds as expensive high-end diamonds and levy taxes worth crores of rupees and impose fines of 300 percent even on small jewellers. There are instances where small jewellers have been asked to cough up Rs.6-7 crore as taxes and fines,” De said.

“This has been continuing for the last three-four months. The IT officials are abusive and often use foul language.”

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