Traders upset over broken LBT promises

Members from Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) are unhappy, as the administration has not kept its promise of forming a committee of traders that would help simplify the implementation of Local Body tax (LBT).

Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, who was arrested last month has drafted a letter along with other traders to the CM Prithviraj Chavan, seeking his support

In a recent meeting, held in the presence of many bureaucrats at Mantralaya, they said that suggestions put forth by the traders to decide upon the LBT model for the city had been outright rejected. In a traders’ meeting held on May 23 and 24, 2013, at Sahayadri in the presence of MPs and MLAs and NCP chief Sharad Pawar it was announced that LBT would not be introduced soon and an assurance was given that a committee of traders with government officials will be formed to decide the LBT model for the city of Mumbai.

Viren Shah, president of FRTWA, said, “To express our displeasure over the failure of the meeting, we have written to the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Officials have been very inflexible in their approach.” Shah added that the chief secretary seemed to be in a hurry to implement LBT in the city.

In the letter to the CM, traders have reiterated that the assessment authority should be the sales tax department and not the municipal corporation as double assessment authorities and extra paperwork would lead to corruption and Inspector Raj.

“These have been our demands right from the beginning and we have requested the CM to intervene in the issue,” added Shah. JK Banthia, chief secretary of the state, said, “The government is in no hurry to bring in LBT. We are still in the process of taking suggestions from traders.”

Ashok Garg, a member of Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) and president of Darukhana Iron and Steel Merchants Association (DISMA), said, “We do not want Local Body Tax and have been opposing it right from the beginning. We do not mind paying tax though. Instead of bringing in LBT the authorities can increase VAT. The new assessment authority is also not acceptable to us.”

Muhammad Ali Patel, general secretary of FAM, said, “It’s been weeks since the strike has been called off but still no committee of traders has been formed.” He added, “Although we are opposed to LBT we are ready to pay the corporation the tax through a single window assessment.”

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