Rampur (UP): Amid the ongoing nationwide strike by bullion dealers, families here are exchanging savings certificates instead of gold jewellery at weddings.
   
The understanding is that they would redeem their 'pawned' certificates by giving jewellery of the same amount once the agitation ends.
   
Bullion traders in various parts of the country are on strike since March 17 to protest budgetary proposals of doubling import duty on gold and imposition of excise duty on unbranded jewellery.
   
"We pinned up National Savings Certificates (NSC) to the garlands on our children at their wedding, as there is no gold jewellery available due to the strike.
   
"We have promised to exchange gold jewellery of the same amount, once the strike ends," said Raees Bhai from Ajeetpur, whose son tied the knot with the daughter of Puttan Bhai.
   
"We even went to the houses of these jewellery shop owners, who have downed shutters due to the strike, to buy jewellery but were returned empty handed," Puttan Bhai said.
   
Meanwhile, Dilip Goel, vice-president of Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapar Pratinidhi Mandal alleged that the "Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee or say as to the Congress government has proposed the hike in customs and excise duty for vilification of the non-branded bullion dealers".
   
However post-budget, speaking on the hike in customs duty and imposition of excise duty, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said, "I did it deliberately".
     
He had explained that in two consecutive years about USD 90 billion of precious foreign exchange was used in importing gold making it the second biggest item of import after oil.

(Agencies)