Govt concedes almost all of traders’ demands

Leaders of traders’ union,who met government officials on Friday,claimed that the state had agreed to accommodate “almost all” of their demands and change the controversial tax regime accordingly.

Written by Express News Service | Published: May 18, 2013 2:52 am

Leaders of traders’ union,who met government officials on Friday,claimed that the state had agreed to accommodate “almost all” of their demands and change the controversial tax regime accordingly.

The apprehensive traders are,however,adamant that the strike will continue until the alterations are legally incorporated in LBT or Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan makes an official statement to that effect.

A delegation of leaders of Pune Merchants’ Chamber,headed by its president Ajit Setiya,met three members of the high-level panel set by the CM to resolve the LBT imbroglio.

“After the meeting,we spoke with the Traders’ Federation leaders. Tomorrow,its members will hold a meeting in Pune and decide on the future course of action,” said Setiya.

Setiya,who refused to divulge the minutes of the meeting for “fear of generating unnecessary controversy”,said the changes made were sufficient to please the traders.

“However,it is not clear when an official announcement will be made. So we are being cautious. More so because of the experience we had last time,” said Setiya. He said the 10-member committee will meet delegations from other cities and then submit its report to the CM.

Meanwhile,all the major market areas remained shut in the city as well as in PCMC area on the tenth day of the strike on Friday.

“The strike has now spread to the entire state. Yesterday,traders in Nagpur also began an indefinite strike. As far as Pune is concerned,our protest has been going on for the past almost one and a half months. On one hand,the government concedes that there are lacunae in the LBT law,but on the other it refuses to change it. This indecisive attitude has kept the issue burning and forced traders to continue the strike leading to huge losses. It is not we who are causing inconvenience to consumers,but the government,which has turned a blind eye to our just demands,” said Popatlal Ostwal,president of the federation.

On Friday,leaders and volunteers of the federation could be seen making rounds of the market areas,forcing traders who had opened shops to close down. They were also distributing the pamphlets in market areas,malls and residential societies,encouraging traders and shop owners to join the strike.

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