Traders firm on stand as strike enters Day 9

LBT Special committee to discuss situation with traders today; MNS to open shops to sell essential commodities.

Written by Express News Service | Published: May 17, 2013 1:15 am

LBT Special committee to discuss situation with traders today; MNS to open shops to sell essential commodities.

The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) has issued notices to nearly 100 wholesalers in market yard for being part of the traders’ strike that entered its ninth day on Thursday. With the traders firm on their decision to continue with the strike,many political parties have now started parleys with them to resolve the issue.

Following the directions of District Collector Vikas Deshmukh on Wednesday,the APMC issued notices to the traders. Ajit Sethiya,president of the Pune Merchants’ Chambers,said they had replied to the notices,saying they were only following the law by not opening shops because they were not allowed to do business,having not registered themselves under LBT. “In our reply,we have also asked the APMC to clarify as to who should the traders charge the LBT from as the present notification was not clear on this,” he added.

As per discussions with the Chief Secretary J Banthiya,Sethiya said,a special committee would meet the traders on Friday and discuss their concerns. “I got the intimation late on Wednesday evening about my inclusion in the committee and we will again be discussing the matter,” he said. The committee is supposed to present its findings before Banthiya in the next two days.

On ninth day of the strike,the city unit of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) distributed pamphlets asking the traders to resume business as their protest was affecting the common man. Ranjit Shirole,general secretary of the Pune unit of MNS,said they had started dialogue with the traders at a personal level. “We do understand the traders’ contention,but their strike is now affecting the common man,which we would like to oppose,” he said. Shirole said the party was in the process of finalising plans to open shops in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to sell essential commodities. “Our party workers would be operating these shops to help the citizens,” he said.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre,too,appealed to the traders to withdraw their strike. “The strike is based on misconception and the traders should stop holding the people hostage,” he said.

Earlier in the day,the Pimpri police had to resort to a mild lathicharge on a procession of traders protesting at Shagun Chowk. Several protesters,including Shiv Sena MP from Maval Gajanan Babar and BJP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit head Eknath Pawar,were arrested and released on spot bail during the agitation.

Textbooks available at BalBharati store

With the local bookshops closed as part of the overall market shutdown over traders’ opposition to the local body tax,the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education has facilitated sale of textbooks of upgraded syllabi for all classes at the store of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharati) on Senapati Bapat Road here. “Students and parents can buy books of upgraded syllabi from the Balbharati store. In view of the ongoing traders’ agitation over LBT issue,we have ensured adequate sale arrangements there,” board chairman Sarjerao Jadhav said on Thursday. He said while the textbooks for Classes IX to XII had already arrived in the market,those of other classes would hit the stores well before the re-opening of schools. On the prices of new textbooks,which have almost doubled,Jadhav said the two prices could not be compared. “Prices of new textbooks remain constant till the syllabus is upgraded once in say about five years. Besides,the new textbooks have several value addition. All these aspects reflect in the revised prices,” he said. While the board is responsible for the content generation of upgraded textbooks,Balbharati is responsible for their printing and distribution.

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