Stock up on groceries, indefinite strike ahead

Traders dealing in groceries, clothing and other accessories have threatened an indefinite strike from May 8 as a protest against the implementation of Local Body Tax (LBT).

The Federation of Retailers Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) has called for an indefinite retail bandh from May 8. Yesterday the federation announced that this decision was taken in order to protest against Local Body Tax (LBT), which will be implemented in Mumbai from October 1 onwards.

United: Viren Shah, president, FRTWA, addressing a meeting of traders recently

They made it clear that all shops dealing in things from foodgrain to readymade garments would be shut completely and no business would be carried out by retailers anywhere in south Mumbai, the suburbs and even Navi Mumbai. LBT will be implemented from October 1 in place of Octroi, which is collected at check posts.

“We have given five days to our customers to complete shopping of their necessities as no small, medium or big shop will be open. Besides, we are also using this time to spread the message of the indefinite bandh to all our retailers,” said Viren Shah, president, FRTWA. Shah added that traders do not wish to trouble customers, hence proper notice is being given before the indefinite strike.

Shut down: Earlier, traders in Navi Mumbai had gone on strike to protest LBT. Pic/Sameer Markande

Retailers believe that the introduction of LBT will put a lot of burden on them as paper work would increase. Traders also feel it is a platform for corruption.

“We do agree that LBT would be less than octroi but then it is inconvenient for retailers. The overall mood of the retailers and traders is not good as they would have to pay tax over a product even before its sold and there’s no guarantee if the product would sell,” added Shah.

Traders claim that the costs of fruits, vegetables, retail goods, grains and groceries and other products too would be influenced due to the implementation of LBT.

What is Local Body Tax?
LBT was proposed in the budget as a replacement for Octroi, as per the Government directives to the BMC, where businessmen would declare their income and tax would be paid on that. In the budget, the administration had promised to show the city as a business friendly destination by removing Octroi. The current cash flow of the administration will change in this system, as they will get the revenue every month-end and not on an annual basis.  

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