Striking West Bengal jewellers to meet Pranab Mukherjee (Lead)

June 10th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 10 (IANS) Jewellers in West Bengal, whose 72-hour strike to protest alleged excesses by income tax authorities entered its final day Wednesday, plan to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi Thursday.
“We will take a deputation to Delhi to meet the finance minister tomorrow (Thursday),” Balu De, president of one of the striking bodies, told IANS.

“Our strike against the atrocities of the income tax department was 100 percent successful,” De added.

Around 40,000 jewellers participated in the strike.

According to the jewellers, income tax officials apply the valuation of pure gold on gold-platd bronze bangles and levy huge taxes.

“They treat cheap American diamonds as expensive high-end diamonds and levy taxes worth crores (of rupees) and impose fines of 300 percent even on small jewellers. There are instances where small jewellers have been asked to cough up Rs.6-7 crore as taxes and fines,” De pointed out.

“This has been continuing for the last three-four months. The IT officials are abusive and often use foul language.”

De said considering that the average daily business in the state was around Rs.50 crore, the total loss during the strike period would be around Rs.150 crore.

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