After protesting the implementation of local body tax by shutting down their shops on April 1, traders of Vashi’s Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) have now gone one step further and called for a three-day bandh. Their April 1 shutdown was echoed by traders in Pune and Chinchwad on Tuesday. The bandh mostly by the spices and grain traders will commence today till April 6.
The new three-day bandh was planned after traders felt that the government did not take notice of the April 1 bandh. Many APMC traders feel the implementation of this tax will force them to shift their businesses to states where these taxes do not exist at all. LBT (0-7%) is being implemented on all goods imported within the city limit for consumption, use or sale.
Members of 15 trader associations have decided to participate in this protest by shutting down business. A few of these include –The Bombay Sugar Merchants Association, Mumbai Srifal Merchants Association, The Bombay Kariana Colour and Chemical Merchants Association, Bombay Mudibazar Kariana Merchants Association, The Bombay Tea Traders Association, The Mumbai Dry Fruits and Dates Merchants Association, The Bombay Flour Merchants Association and Bombay Gur Merchants Association.
Kirti Rana, director of APMC market and president of confederation of all India traders, Maharashtra, said, “We have decided to aggravate our protest further. By implementing additional taxes, we are being forced to maintain a separate register and constantly keep a check on paperwork. This has shifted the focus from our businesses.”
He further added, “APMC market is a major distribution centre for various commodities and if traders are further harassed they may shift their businesses to other states where such taxes are not applicable.” When MiD DAY contacted Sudhir Cheke, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation deputy municipal commissioner (cess), he said traders have every right to protest in a democratic country.
“LBT has been implemented from April 1 but is not applicable on absolute necessities. I do agree that there has been a rise in the taxes on things like dry fruits, but these are not the needs of the common man. There is hardly any tax on absolute necessities like milk, flour, vegetables, khadi cloth etc,” he said.