Jewelry shops survive on smuggled gold

Published On: April 7, 2018 03:30 AM NPT By: Mithilesh Yadav

LAHAN, April 6 Police took into custody three individuals here including a woman Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in the  buying and selling of illegal gold . Sandip Soni, a local jewelry shop owner  was caught while buying  gold bracelets weighing 50 grams but was released later. However, police  kept Mohammad Sajabul Shaikh of Kalyanpur Municipality-1under judicial custody after confiscating some drugs and a bullet from him.

Shaikh had  first gone to Soni's  shop (Ma Durga Jewelers) in Lahan-7 for selling the gold. But as the shop was closed ,  he waited at a local tea stall. As soon as Soni came and was handed  the gold,  police turned up. As mentioned in the receipt, the gold was purchased from Gulf Jewelry Doha in Qatar. Likewise, the name of the buyer was mentioned in the receipt as Ram Gopal Mandal. 

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ganesh Chand at the Area Police Office, Lahan informed that Soni was released after examining the receipt. "We had to release him as there was no evidence of his involvement in any crime," said Chand. 
 There is never a shortage of gold in the market despite the fluctuation in price.
 According to jewelers, around 40 kg of gold is consumed in Nepal on a daily basis. Every day, Rastra Bank issues 15 kg of gold through various banks. But the  question is  where does the remaining 25 kg come from,   Bharat Agrawal, chairperson of District Gold and Silver Entrepreneur Union (DGSEU) Siraha, informed that the district receives a total of 6 kg a month from the banks  . 

Out of this total of 6 kg , DGSEU is provided 4 kg  while 2 kg is provided to Lahan Municipal Gold Silver Entrepreneur Union (LMGEU). There are more than 150 jewelry shops in the district but Lahan is the largest market  with 50 jewelry shops. As stated by Shyam Sah, chairperson of LMGEU, it is not possible to meet the demand  with the 2 kg  supplied by banks.

In recent days,  gold coming from the Gulf countries is rampant  in  local shops. Jewelers prefer the imported gold as it is cheaper than  gold supplied by banks and it's also easy to evade tax as there are no records. Many jewelers have been carrying out  their business with  gold imported from the Gulf . According to some businessmen, this has affected the market price . "There is a difference of almost Rs. 10,000 in these two types of gold," said one  businessmen, adding," people will obviously go for the cheaper ."  

Gold from the Gulf comes is  large caches via the Indian market. As per some sources, the Indian market is the first priority for  agents and businessmen handling Gulf  gold. The gold comes to the local market only if it does not make it into the Indian market. Local businessmen have been using  youths in the Gulf countries to bring in the gold.

The illegal gold in Lahan is an open secret, just like hundi, the informal money transfer channel. "As Lahan is contiguous with  the Indian border, gold smuggling and hundi  have become rife of late," said one of local businessman requesting anonymity.

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