Traders call for UP bandh to protest VAT

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Lucknow, Nov 26: The state, Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapar Pratinidhi Mandal, a trader organisation affiliated to the opposition Samajwadi Party, has called for a 50-hour 'UP Bandh' from November 27 to protest the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) regime in the State.

Other traders' bodies, the opposition Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party were also supporting the bandh against implementation of VAT -- likely to be implemented from December 1, 2007.

The organisations opposing implementation of VAT said they will not accept the new tax regime in the present form which they termed as ''anti-trader.'' Mandal president and Rajya Sabha member Banwari Lal Kanchal said here today that the government should implement the new VAT system for those traders whose annual business was over Rs 15 lakh. At present the government has proposed to bring all the traders whose business stood at Rs five lakh yearly under the new regime, probably to be implemented in a phased manner from December 1 next.

''The new VAT system will only bring corruption and harrassment for the traders, while the revenue of the government will dip and the consumers have to pay more for their purchase,'' Mr Kanchal alleged.

The organisation had already held a day long UP bandh on September 11 against the VAT regime.

Earlier, the activists of the same trader group led by its president and SP MP Banwari Lal Kanchal held a violent protest in Lucknow and Varanasi on August 22 which forced the Mayawati government to order closure of all Reliance Fresh outlets in the State over law and order problem.

Meanwhile, the traders would bring out a vehicle procession in the state capital this afternoon. The administration has refused permission to take out the procession.

Mandal spokesman Chandra Kumar Chabbra said the traders are ready to confront with the government over the issue and the BSP government would be held responsible for any consequence.

He said a torch light procession by the traders would also be taken out here this evening in support of the bandh.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janta Party has said UP chief minister Mayawati should have a talk with the traders and have their views before imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) in the State.

''The CM should take in to consideration the views of the State traders, so as to reach an agreement into levy of the tax, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Aditya Nath said.

The forceful levy of VAT is akin to imposing 'Inspector Raj' in UP, he claimed.

The tax would not only ruin traders, but adversely affect the comman man, who would have to pay more price for essential commodities, the BJP MP underlined.


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