VAT in UP from tomorrow; traders divided on ways to protest

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Lucknow, Dec 31 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh is all set to implement Value Added Tax(VAT) regime from tomorrow even as the traders and transporters are up in arms against the new tax system alleging disparities in the tax rates of adjoining states.

While the transporters have stopped booking of all goods from yesterday and had announced to go on an indefinite strike from New Year, the traders have also announced to hold UP Bandh tomorrow.

Official sources here today said that all preparations for implementation of the VAT has been completed in the state and the entire new tax system have been computerised.

Claiming that the agitation by the traders and transporters was politically motiviated, sources said UP was the last state to enforce this new tax regime.

''There is no question now to suspend VAT under the pressure of traders as the state has already suffered much for delay in its implementation,'' an official said.

Earlier announcing the UP bandh on January one, UP Udoyog Vyapar Pratinidih Mandal president and Rajya Sabha member Banwari Lal Kanchal said the traders have no other option left rather than to go on strike as government was not interested in hearing the plea of the traders.

''We only want that the UP government rationalises the taxes under the new system at par with other adjoining states'', Mr Kanchal said.

Alleging that the Mayawati government was not concerned about the problems of the traders, the M P claimed that the new tax regime would severely hit leather, foodgrain and garment industries in the state as the rate of taxes in other adjoining states was much less than what proposed in UP.

''Whereas UP government has imposed taxes on garments, foodgrains and leather, in Delhi and some other adjoining states VAT tax has been waived off on these products'', he further added.

He said during the state-wide bandh, traders would bring out processions and demonstrate in front of all the sales tax offices.

The traders affiliated to the Mandal today continued their four-day long hunger strike to protest VAT.

The agitation being held in front of the Vidhan Sabha precincts, where traders observed hunger strike for the third day to oppose the new tax system which they term ''anti-trader''. The agitation will end tomorrow.

Traders of several districts in UP also observed hunger strike and they would continue to do so till the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the agitating transporters said they would go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow and will not ply trucks or buses in the state till the present VAT structure was amended.

Under the new tax regime, transporters have been identified as dealers in the business of transport and they will have to submit Form 14 to 21 and keep all the details of their business for eight years. The transporters had already stopped booking of goods from yesterday.

They were also claiming that VAT imposed in 22 other states of the country had kept transporters out of the purview of the new tax system.

Meanwhile, the All-India Samajwadi Vyapar Mandal-- affiliated to the Opposition Samajwadi Party--is organising a 'buddhi shuddhi' (mind cleansing) havan on the banks the holy confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati in Allahabad tomorrow.

The proposed havan is aimed at cleansing the minds of trader leaders who, according to the organisation, have so far failed to gather on a single platform to protest implementation of VAT in UP.

''Despite our repeated efforts, the various traders' bodies have failed to collect on a single platform to protest VAT. Solitary efforts would not make much difference on the opinion of the government,'' All-India Samajwadi Vyapar Mandal national president Radheyshyam Gupta said here.

''A civil disobedience movement should be launched against implementation of VAT...it cannot be achieved by the efforts of a single organisation. But unfortunately, the various traders' leaders are busy furthering their personal political interests,'' he lamented.

UNI

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