Jaggery traders on indefinite strike over VAT

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Muzaffarnagar, Jan 3 (UNI) After a bandh called to protest the Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation on Jaggery from January 1, traders of the Asia's biggest jaggery market here in Uttar Pradesh have announced an indefinite strike over levying of 4 per cent VAT on their product.

The implementation of the new tax regime by the state government has coerced the closure of the Asia's biggest jaggery market and all other west UP markets.

The Gur Khandsari Grain Merchant Association president Sanjay Mittal today said, ''we are not against VAT, but decline to accept its implementation on jaggery.'' No state has so far implemented VAT on jaggery, he added.

VAT would force the traders to quit their business, leading to mass unemployment in the state, Mr Mittal underlined.

Further, imposing tax on jaggery could also compel the traders to supply it to other states, following which the state government would suffer a revenue loss of Rs 12 lakh, he added.

He said markets would remain closed until the UP government takes back its decision of imposing tax on jaggery.

Dismissing all misgivings of traders about the new tax regime in UP, the state government had yesterday implemented VAT, claiming it was aimed at benefiting the common man and accelerating the pace of development.

A divided traders community had organised a state-wide bandh on January 1, which evoked a mixed response with shops and business establishments in major markets remanining closed.

However, traders in smaller markets across the state had preferred to keep shops open.

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