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Surprise checks diminish the glow from gold purchases  

It is disturbing for gold jewellery buyers in the state to learn that local jewelers are using unverified weighing instruments, reports Team B&C

Gold jewelers in the state have turned cautious after news of unverified weighing instruments being used by members of the local jewelry trade emerged.

Most jewelers when contacted said that, their community is being unnecessarily brought in adverse limelight and claimed that their weighing instruments are brought from branded suppliers and hence reliable. Several jewelers said that, they do not want to talk on the issue, while only few were willing to put across their side of the story.

Pramut Raiker, president, Goa Gold Dealers Association, said that, instructions have been issued to members of the local gold ornament retailing community to ensure that the weighing instruments used by them are validated from the legal metrology department and compliant with rules.

“I am sure jewelers have not purposely gone without certification. Most of them have forgotten to do so,” he said. According to the president of GGDA,  the number of jewelers found to be using unverified weighing machines is just a fraction of the total number of people in the trade and Goan jewellers are overall honest compared to their counterpart in other states. “The problem of doubtful weighing scales exists in other states but not here and especially not in south Goa,” said Raikar.

Vikram Verlekar, director, Ulhas Jewellers, Margao, said that, customer confidence is important in the jewelry business and third party certification is the only way to build trust or confidence. “Most jewelers take things from granted. The certification of our weighing instruments is necessary and it is good that surprise checks were conducted,” he said.

Verlekar however added that, the government needs to ease the certification process. “At present we take our instruments to the department which means that an employee has to be assigned to the job.” His suggestion is, for inspectors of the department to come to the showroom for the certification and charge a fee for their services.

In a surprise check on 200 jewelers across the state carried out over last week, the legal metrology department detected 72 unverified weighing machines used by local gold retailers. Department officials booked 48 store owners using unverified instruments. Sources reveled that, large showrooms as well as small goldsmiths were among those booked.

Unverified weighing machines could be prone to tampering and inaccuracy, according to inspectors of the department. They said that, weighing instruments have a validity period and depending on whether they are digital instruments or non-digital have to be checked for validity every one or two years.

The compliance is self-regulatory and the responsibility of getting the machines checked is with the jeweler. The surprise checks were conducted after complaints came in from consumers who suspected jewelers of using inaccurate weighing instruments. The complaints were from consumers in Siolim.

Post the complaints instructions were given to the department to conduct random checks on gold shops in every taluka.

According market reports, there are an estimated 500 jewelers in the state. Goans are lovers of gold and a jewelry shop is omnipresent in almost all localities. It is mandatory for all traders in the state to display the verification certificate of weighing machines in their premises. Further retailers have to use only certified weighing scales.

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