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LBT protests hit marriage plans

With shopkeepers and vegetable vendors across Mumbai threatening to shut shop again from Monday to protest the implementation of the Local Body Tax (LBT), families of those getting married this week are predictably tense. Harassed and worried citizens whose family members are tying the knot this month say the protests are making things difficult for them.

There are more than 5,000 weddings scheduled in May and the protests have affected those buying bulk vegetables, pulses, clothes or even gifts. Many who prefer shopping from Dadar and south Mumbai wholesale markets during weddings to take advantage of the affordable rates here, are now cursing LBT as well.

Speaking to Sunday MiD Day, one such citizen said the strike had forced him to travel all the way to Surat to buy clothes at affordable rates as marriage preparations need a lot of time. Now with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) almost ready to implement the LBT and the Chief Minister not accepting the traders’ association’s plea, the protests are likely to worsen.

Rekha Nadkarni, a resident of Andheri who has her daughter’s wedding scheduled, echoed the sentiments of many others when she said, “It’s my daughter’s wedding in a few days and I don’t know what to do. There will be many guests who’ll be coming in and we will need groceries, which need to be stocked up.”

The Manjrekars who also have a wedding in the family, said, “Our son’s wedding has been advanced. There is a lot of work to do, even the shopping has become an issue as we thought we could do it from south Mumbai. But to our dismay, this protest came up. We will have to try for other alternatives now.”

What is LBT?
Local Body Tax (LBT), to be imposed in Maharashtra October onwards, will be valid on the sale or consumption of certain products. According to traders, the tax will be an addition to the existing Value Added Tax (VAT). LBT is to replace octroi, which every corporation charges whenever a truck or vehicle carrying goods enters their limits. Traders claim that if they have to pay more taxes, they will finally levy it on the buyers, as the end product will cost them more. The tax varies from 0-7 per cent, depending on the goods. 

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