Mumbai: After the meeting with the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the 20-day long strike by the agitating jewellers and bullion traders for removal of excise duty on unbranded jewellery was called off on April 7.

Jewellers from Zaveri Bazaar, a major hub for jewellery industry, who opened their shops for the first time on Monday after a 20-day strike saw a muted response from buyers with footfalls nowhere near their expectations.
   
"We expected the demand to be very high as the shops were closed due to the strike. However, the footfalls are much less than our expectations," Kumar Jain of Umedmal Tilokchand Zaveri told here.
   
The demand will definitely go up as the marriage and festival season is round the corner, which will boost sales, but we expect it to pick up gradually, he added.
   
Jewellers in India ended their three-week strike on Friday after assurance the government would consider scrapping a budget proposal to levy excise duty on unbranded jewellery.
   
Gold closed at Rs 27,985 per 10 grams, up by Rs 90, compared to the Saturday's close of Rs 27,895 in Mumbai.    

Jewellers across the country had gone on strike from March 17 to protest the budgetary proposals of levying Excise duty of 1 percent on unbranded precious jewellery and doubling the Customs duty on standard gold bars, gold coins and platinum to 4 percent.
   
Bullion traders and jewellers called off the strike last week after meeting UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who assured them to look into their demands.
   
Bombay Bullion Association President Prithiviraj Kothari opined that the mooted demand is due to lack of liquidity in the market.
   
"The demand is slow because there is no liquidity in the market," he said.


(JPN/Agencies)