With an unrelenting state government sticking to their decision on local body tax (LBT),traders continued their strike for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.
The traders association had called an indefinite strike on Monday,badly affecting the common man. All major markets and most shops in the city remained closed,except for petrol pumps and bakeries. The strike has caused much inconvenience to citizens who had to go without groceries and other essential goods.
The association is protesting against the implementation of local body tax (LBT) in place of octroi in the jurisdiction of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The association formed a human chain from the main market place on Laxmi Road to Pune Camp area as a show of strength.
They held a protest march in front of PMC headquarters on Tuesday,with Mayor Vaishali Bankar assuring them of taking up their issue with the government.
The association has decided to launch a relay hunger strike outside PMC headquarters from Thursday and would hold a candle march at Deccan gymkhana to register their protest against implementation of LBT.
Owing to shortage of supply of goods in view of the wholesale market being closed,the small shops were also compelled to down their shutters. The traders association has decided to open a centre for milk supply at various branches of Grahak Panchayat and Poona Merchant Chambers so as to cater to the need of citizens. It has also been decided to provide essential goods and food items to orphanage and oldage homes as per the requirement.
The strike would be intensified,if the state government does not accept our demand, said Popat Oswal,president of association.
Fatechand Ranka,member of association,said the LBT system is very complex and compels the small shops to maintain records. It is difficult for the shopkeepers to maintain records. Time will be wasted doing administrative work for LBT instead of selling goods. The state government should consider surcharge of Value Added Tax (VAT) and transfer funds to the local civic bodies, he said. The government should have taken the traders association into confidence before taking the decision,Ranka added.