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Gold to lose shine for Bowbazar's unit workers this Dhanteras

Kolkata: Gold ornament manufacturing unit owners and workers are in a fix ahead of Dhanteras this year as they are unable to supply the yellow metal to customers following partial or total collapse of their shops and workshops in the Bowbazar area due to the ongoing East-West Metro tunnel boring.

"We have not received a single order for Dhanteras this year because our ornament manufacturing unit is under the debris. We will suffer 100 percent loss during Dhanteras this year," said Bharat Soni, owner of a jewellery manufacturing unit at 10/2 Syakra Para Lane.

Bowbazar is considered to be Kolkata's jewellery hub. During Dhanteras, the lanes and bylanes in the locality are packed with people shopping gold ornaments every year.

This year, Dhanteras will be celebrated on October 25. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and it is believed that offering prayers to the 'Goddess of Wealth' and buying gold is a sign of good luck.

Remembering last year's Dhanteras rush of customers, Soni pointed out that this is for the first time that his shop will wear a deserted look on Dhanteras.

"In 2018, we sold 10 percent more gold ornaments on Dhanteras in comparison to 2017. In 2017, the sale shot up by 5 percent," he added.

In the affected Bowbazar area, there are around 50 gold ornament manufacturing units.

Pradeep Ghosh of Bangiya Swarna Shilpi Samity pointed out that the shop owners in the area will not suffer due the East-West Metro mishap. On Dhanteras, the main sufferers will be the workers of the gold manufacturing units.

"The sale of gold will be 30 percent down in Bowbazar area during Dhanteras this year," he added.

A total of approximately 74 buildings have suffered damages or developed cracks in Durga Pithuri Lane, Syakra Para Lane and Gour De Lane. The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRCL), the implementing agency of the East-West Metro project, had given compensation to the jewellery manufacturing unit owners for the damages caused to their buildings after a machine that was boring the tunnel in Bowbazar hit a giant aquifer on August 31.

Rs 1 lakh each was given to jewellery manufacturing units having less than or 100 square feet area. Rs 5 lakh each was given to the jewellery manufacturing units having area of more than 100 square feet.

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