Mushroom growth of illegal jewellery shops alleged

Unlicensed jewellery business has increased to a great extent in the frontier district of Meherpur with no enough check up from the administration.
The district administration could not say how many jewellery shops are there in the district. A reliable source said there are as many as four hundred jewellery shops in three upazilas of the district.
These shops are found everywhere in both important and less important places in the district and upazila level town even in the villages. Most of the shop owners are running jewellery business without taking requisite license from the competent authorities.
Thus the government is deprived of huge revenues every year. It was learnt from a dependable source that the district had hardly fifty valid license holders and rest are doing jewellery business by obtaining only trade license from the municipality or union parishads.
Meherpur being the frontier district near Kolkata is the transit point of gold smuggling. It is widely alleged that huge quantity of gold is being smuggled into the country or being taken out of the country by organized groups of smugglers through this route.
It is also alleged that gold is being smuggled from the country in the form of ornaments and for this there is mushroom growth of jewellery shops hither and thither. During a visit to different upazilas it was found that jewellery shops are there even in the hamlets also.
When contacted the leaders of Jewellery Shop Owners’ Association of Meherpur Sadar and Gangni upazila refrained from giving any information regarding the gold business and the shops. It can be mentioned here that some traders are carrying out the business without license to avoid complication as imposed by the government officials.
Most of jewellery shop owners use to burn nitric acid for melting gold in the open places which has been polluting the environment and causing some other health hazards. Burning of nitric acid creates carbon monoxide gas which may affect respiratory system and cause other health problems. Most of the jewellery shops do not have valid licenses for using acid although the local administration is trying to their best to bring them under the rules.
People of the area opined that the competent authorities should conduct mobile court and periodical test to ensure that the shops run following regulations and health safety precautions. – Special Correspondent

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