Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 11

WHOLESALE agriculture produce markets at Vashi (Navi Mumbai), dealing in essential commodities such as food grains, sugar, jaggery and coconut, have decided to stop both loading and unloading from Wednesday night.

This decision by the Grain, Rice and Oilseeds Merchants' Association (GROMA) and other major wholesale trade organisations is to protest against the 10.20 per cent service tax.

The Government issued a notification on December 3 under which, the burden of service tax of 10 per cent and education cess of 2 per cent was, from January 1, shifted from transport operators to customers (traders).

The existing stock of all essential commodities are exhausting fast as the arrivals from the producing centres have been stopped from January 1, said Mr Sharad Maru, President of GROMA. As a result, there will be short supply of essential and other commodities, he said.

The trader who is responsible for payment of freight for goods brought by road transport is also responsible for service tax payment.

Those responsible for the payment have to obtain registration from the Excise Department and pay the service tax within 25 days from the end of the month, sources said.

Essential commodities such as food grains, pulses, oilseeds, consumed by both the higher and lower income groups, are subject to 10.2 per cent service tax. However, fruits, vegetables, eggs and milk are exempted from the tax.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 12, 2005)
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