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Maharashtra traders’ stir against new levy starting to fizzle out

Rahul Wadke Satyanarayan Iyer Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

According to an estimate given by Mumbai Textile Merchants’ Association President Surendra Savai some 30,000 traders attended the protest meeting on Thursday.

The 22-day-old strike called by traders and shopkeepers in Maharashtra against a local levy in lieu of octroi lost steam with retailers in major business areas of the State reopening for business.

The solidarity between retail store owners and traders started to crack on the 15th day itself when Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the local body tax was here to stay and that it could not be dovetailed with the value added tax

The non-compromising attitude of the State Government along with the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the implementation of the tax affected the traders’ morale.

Doors still open

Sanjay Gosalia, a prominent trader from the Navi Mumbai market, said the strike was fizzling out since there was no cohesive strategy among traders and retail shop owners across the State. Local trade leaders are only trying to hog the limelight rather than putting up a consolidated front against the Government, he said.

On Friday, Chavan had said the State Government was open to talks but the tax cannot be rolled back; only the implementation methods could be tweaked. The tax was imposed only after the State Assembly gave its nod.

Chavan said traders’ suggestion of recovering one per cent extra VAT instead of the new levy was not a feasible idea, as the 74th amendment of the Constitution has provided autonomy to local municipal bodies. If the State collected the extra VAT and then remitted it to the municipal corporations, it would amount to violation of the amendment, he said.

rahul.wadke@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 11, 2013

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