SEVERAL leaders from the GST Sangharsh Samiti on Tuesday met with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Finance Minister Nitin Patel at Gandhinagar to apprise them of their concerns regarding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout and have sought a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the state on June 29-30. Tarachand Kasat, convener of textile GST Sangharsh Samiti, which was formed this month and President of All India Textile Traders Federation(AITTF), said that close to 150 textile traders from the AITTF are planning to boycott the three-day ‘Textiles India 2017’ at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, set to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister and may go on an indefinite strike from July 1.
Over three lakh traders from the state, including 50,000 Ahmedabad-based traders, have decided to join in the nationwide strike of textile industry on June 27, 28 and 29 to oppose the GST. They had contended that not enough time has been given for GST compliance and have demanded that fabric be exempt from GST.
“We wish to inform the Prime Minister of the dire situation faced by close to 15 crore traders across India and have conveyed the same to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani in a meeting on Tuesday. We need a minimum of 1 to 2 years to implement the GST in our sector, which is why we are opposing it. We want the government to keep the GST to yarn level. Until now, we have made 16 representations to various government functionaries at the Centre and state, and will await the next GST council meeting on June 30 for a positive outcome. We may go on an indefinite strike from July 1, if our demands are not met,” said Kasat said, adding, close to 3 lakh textile traders in Gujarat have decided to join in the three-day nationwide strike by textile industry players.
However, few traders believe that they are opposing the GST and not everybody would want to boycott the event. Gaurang Bhagat, president of Maskati Mahajan, a 111-year old body of textile traders in the city, said the strike on Tuesday was successful as other stakeholders of the business like contractors, sellers, embroidery artists, packing staff also joined in. Bhagat, however, said there may not be a formal boycott as many traders have already paid for the stalls. “Our opposition is with the GST implementation and not with the event,” said Bhagat.
Rajesh Agarwal, secretary of the New Cloth Market of Ahmedabad, said only a few members of the trade body have decided to skip the Textile India event. “There is currently a lot of opposition to the new GST regime and a few of the members have decided not to participate in the textile event,” he said.