Traders’ strike affects Kashmir Valley

August 9th, 2011 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 9 (IANS) Life across Kashmir Valley was adversely affected Tuesday by a strike called by local traders and transporters against increase in taxes charged from them by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Markets in the summer capital here and other major towns of the Valley were closed and public transport remained off the roads.

Attendance in government offices, banks and post offices in most towns was thin.

Muhammad Yasin Khan, president of the traders’ and manufacturers’ association told IANS: “Our token strike is against the hike in VAT (Value Added Tax), passenger tax, electricity tariff, water taxes etc.”

“It is both painful and shocking that the state finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, has said the traders here do not know what they want,” said Khan.

“I want to ask the finance minister whether or not we gave him a charter of our demands. And, if we do not know what we want, then who does,” he asked.

“Most of us are professionals with MBAs from some of the most prestigious universities of the country and abroad. Strange that the state government believes we are unaware of our rights and duties,” he added.

Local traders and transporters are demanding revocation of additional taxes on property, power and water, new VAT return forms and ban on unhindered movement of non-state buses carrying tourists.

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