Jorhat, March 5: Lack of testing equipment, servicing facilities and dearth of technical manpower in the Northeast are some of the reasons for the low level of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification in the region.
This was revealed by the bureau director, Guwahati, P.K. Kandoi, who is conducting a consumer awareness campaign in Jorhat and Golaghat districts on the quality of goods, which are given BIS certification.
Kandoi said, “For example, it was often seen there are no chemists to conduct tests on a regular basis by the mineral water companies. In order to get the BIS certificate, the company has to maintain a testing laboratory, chemists and technicians, as there is no common infrastructure or calibration agency in this regard. This is a costly affair and hence, many companies don’t undertake proper testing before going in for production.”
Likewise for electrical and electronic equipment, there was only one testing facility, the Electronic Testing and Development Centre in Guwahati, and that too, not for all equipment.
“For testing, manufacturers have to go to Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai since there is no infrastructure in this region. This is a hurdle to giving a BIS certificate as we are bound to maintain standards,” he said.
The director said the companies seeking the certificate not only had to maintain testing labs on their own and employ technical personnel but also have to get their equipment checked regularly.
“There are no servicing facilities to repair or test these equipment, so they are kept in order,” Kandoi said.
Another sector, which was suffering from low BIS certification, is the hallmarking of gold jewellery.
“Customers are being duped in the name of purity and there have been many complaints. Jewellers and customers would benefit if the standard of purity was maintained. However, going all the way to Calcutta for the testing process is difficult for jewellers here, especially small goldsmiths,” he said.
Goldsmiths from the region have to go to Calcutta to get their gold tested for purity before being given the BIS certificate.
A bureau survey in India has shown out of the 62 samples collected from major cities, only 12 were found to conform to the purity level.
“There are four standards of purity ranging from 916, 750, 565 and 375 per 1,000 parts and these are graded as 22 carat, 18 carat, 14 carat and nine carat respectively. A gold item gets five marks — the BIS triangle mark, fineness/purity, hallmarking centre’s identification mark, jewellers’ identification mark and year and code,” Kandoi said.
He said there are 170 gold testing labs in the country and one is likely to be set up in Guwahati within this year.