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Kochi, March 30

SHOPS and business establishments in the entire Ernakulam district and Kochi city remained closed on Wednesday following the three-day strike by the traders protesting the implementation of VAT from April 1.

Reports from various centres reaching here said that almost all shops, except medical and government run co-operative stores and supermarkets, were closed in response to the strike call.

However, outlets of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, Triveni Supermarkets and co-operative stores, beverage outlets functioned normally in the district. A section of hotel owners, owing allegiance to the Hotel and Restaurant Association, closed their business establishments.

The strike has brought good business for the pavement vendors due to the closure of mainline shops.

The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithy, representing 1.3 lakh registered retailers and wholesalers in the State, had given the strike call. According to the office bearers of the Samithy, the response to the strike call was total in all the parts of the district.

Mr M. Jayaprakash, State Vice-President of the Samithy, demanded that the anomalies in the proposed VAT regime were set right before it was implemented. Unless the Government came forward to consider the traders charter of demands, the agitation would continue, he warned.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 31, 2005)
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