Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday met Surat textile traders, who have been agitating against the imposition of 5 per cent GST or Goods and Services Tax on the industry for over the past few weeks. As the Centre reached out to the protesters though Mandaviya, their meeting with BJP president Amit Shah, who was in the district on Friday, was called off. Mandaviya, MoS for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilisers, assured the traders that their demands would be looked into and also forwarded to the GST Council.
Textile business in Surat has been affected since June 15 and shops have remained closed for all days but one since June 24. There are over 70,000 textile traders in the city. Due to the ongoing strike, the industry has suffered loss of thousands of crores of rupees and the protests have also started to affected the related businesses. On Thursday, Mandaviya had attended a meeting with chartered accountants in Surat, and explained them the GST structure. He had also told them to talk to textile traders, so that they can get their firms registered under GST.
On Friday, the minister met GST Sangharsh Samiti leaders Tarachand Kasat, Champalal Bothra, Manoj Agrawal, Dhanpat Jain, Dinesh Trivedi and Muralilal Surekha at the Circuit House here. The Samiti has been spearheading the protest by the textile traders, Along with Mandavia, BJP MP Nanu Vanani and Central Excise commissioner K S Mishra attended the meeting. In the meeting, the textile traders explained to the minister the entire process of the cloth-making starting from the yarn. The meeting continued for around three hours.
After listening to their issues, Mandaviya assured them to put their issues to GST council so that an amicable solution could be found. Later, speaking with The Indian Express, GST Sangharsh Samithi president Tarachand Kasat said, “We have put two demands before him — the first is that till now trading was not coming under the tax segment, so it should be kept as it is and we have told to increase the GST slab on the yarn and keep entire lower chain free. Our second demand is that the government give us two-years before we start paying GST. ”
He further added, “Mandaviya assured that the issues will be put before the GST Council. He also told us that, if needed, he will call a delegation of Surat textile traders to Delhi and make representations. He also told us that to end the strike and start doing business. We told him that, the agitating traders will not be convinced till they get positive results.”