District Collector Vikas Deshmukh yesterday stated that if the traders in the district would continue to participate in the bandh instead of registering themselves for Local Body Tax, the farmers from nearby villages would be invited in the district to sell foodgrains and other essential commodities to the consumers. While addressing media persons the District Collector also said that the stock of the essential commodities would be seized when shopkeepers who would surrender their shop license to the district administration.
“The final meeting about LBT is being conducted today by the state chief secretary with the municipal commissioners of all the districts in the state along with the representatives of various traders’ association. However if the course of action would not be decided in the meeting, then the local level solution would be implemented in the district,” said Deshmukh. Traders have been on an indefinite strike since May 8, after the State government opposed a stay to the Local Body Tax (LBT) during the hearing of a case in the Supreme Court.
Apart from inviting farmers for direct sell and purchase of essential commodities, the district administration would appeal the small traders of market committee to not to close their shops. “We have also asked the Grahak Panchayats to open their outlets in the various parts of the city for the sale of essential commodities so that the citizens would not face inconvenience,” said Deshmukh. He also assured that the police protection would be given to such outlets.
Meanwhile, the crowd of three lakh traders in the city yesterday (Tuesday) conducted a rally refusing to register for LBT. May 20 is last date to register for LBT. “Our protest is peaceful however the state government threatened us to hold out Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to curb our demand. Now we have also decided to take aggressive steps during bandh,” said Federation of Trade Association of Pune, Suryakant Pathak.
He added that the traders were asking permission to conduct a rally since last few days, however police refused the permission. “When we held the rally without permission we received a letter from police threatening to take criminal action, however when the political parties hold rallies without police permission the police keep mum,” said Pathak.
Two cases have been registered against FTAP Vice-President, Suryakant Pathak, President of Pune Traders’ Association Popatlal Oswal, FTAP Treasurer Fatehchand Ranka and others for carrying out yesterday’s morcha without taking necessary permission from the police. Two cases have been registered against the traders with Khadak and Deccan Gymkhana police station under relevant sections of Bombay Police Act.