About three lakh traders in the district have decided to go on an indefinite bandh from May 8 to protest against the implementation of Local Body Tax (LBT). The decision was taken yesterday at a meeting attended by representatives of several trade associations in the Pune.
President of Pune Traders’ Association Popatlal Oswal said though a Government Resolution (GR) was already in place for implementation of the LBT, traders in the state were firm on their decision to observe an indefinite bandh.
“The notification draft brought by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is unclear. The district administration, which refused to budge, has already issued a notice for confiscation of food grains from our shops. Hence we have called for an indefinite bandh from May 8,” he said.
The District Food Distribution Department, till date, has issued notices to 1,020 fair price shops and 450 wholesale shops in the district for participating in the bandh called by traders on April 22 to protest against the LBT. Its officials warned that similar action would be initiated against traders who would down their shutters in support of the indefinite strike starting May 8.
District Food Distribution Officer Dyaneshwar Jawanjal said that according to the Essential Commodities Act of 1955, criminal cases would be filed against the fair price and wholesale shopkeepers if they participate in the bandh to protest against implementation of the LBT.
He said, “There is a possibility that shopkeepers might store foodgrains in their godowns and participate in the bandh under the pretext that they are out
We have asked Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation to provide information about the fair price and wholesale shopkeepers who store the foodgrains in their godowns.”
After the bandh called on April 22 ended, it was discovered that about 3,840 quintals of foodgrains were stored at various godowns and were later distributed through fair price shops in the district.
Jawanjal said a team comprising 30 officials was formed to check whether fair price and wholesale shops were open or closed during the indefinite bandh.