Wholesaler sugar dealers observed a strike today in protest against the sudden imposition of a 5.5 per cent VAT on sugar.
The dealers shut down their shops at Kesar Mandi and met Baba Ajit Singh,Chairman of the Small Traders Board (STB),who assured that he would soon get a meeting fixed for them with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The sugar dealers stated that the 5.5 per cent VAT is not justified as it would not only burn the pockets of consumers but also increase tax evasion.
They indicated that sugar from Chandigarh would be sold in Mohali,Punjab,without paying any tax.
Even at other districts where the borders of Himachal Pradesh or Haryana are nearby,sugar will be brought without paying any tax,the dealers added.
Jagjit Singh,President of the association,said,The department will not gain much out of it but will only be inviting more criticism. Earlier the VAT on pulses was 4 per cent and the tax collection was a bare minimum. Later when it was reduced to 1 per cent,the tax collection improved a lot. We appeal to the government to reduce it to 1 per cent or 2 per cent. They can get lot of revenue but 5.5 per cent is not justified. It would directly affect the common man.
The dealers also stated that in the garb of sugar prices,inflation in general would increase in the market just to mint money.
They also rued that they were never consulted for any suggestions before the implementation of this tax.