Jharkhand traders step up protest against VAT

June 16th, 2009 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, June 15 (IANS) Around 600,000 traders in Jharkhand Monday protested in front of the governor’s house demanding an immediate roll-back of the 4 percent value-added tax (VAT) imposed on foodgrains from June 1.
The traders, who launched a phased agitation earlier this month, have also stopped buying foodgrains and vegetables as part of their effort to intensify the agitation.

“We will not pick up foodgrains and vegetables. If the Jharkhand government fails to withdraw the VAT then we will indefinitely shut our shops from June 17,” said Anchal Kinger, president of the Federation of Jharkhand Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI).

The imposition of VAT has led to a rise of food grainprices. The prices of rice, wheat, potato, onion, flour and foodgrains have increased between Rs.2 and Rs.10 per kilogram, traders said.

The government is expected to earn an additional Rs.5 crore per year through higher tax.

However, the decision is likely to affect the poor in the state, where 52 percent of the population live below the poverty line (BPL), the traders said.

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