BJP supports traders strike against ECA

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Ranchi, May 20 (UNI) Demanding immediate withdrawal of the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) from Jharkhand, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister Arjun Munda today said the BJP would join the traders' agitation if their demands were not met.

The Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), an organisation of traders, decided to shut down business establishments on May 28 across the state in protest against the ECA, which limits the stock of foodgrains.

The Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions Specified Food Stuff Order, 2008, was notified on April 17.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Mr Munda alleged that the law would enhance blackmarketing.

''The common man is suffering because of price hike while the traders are being cornered by the Act, seeking to limit stock of foodgrains by each trader to 250 quintals,'' Mr Munda said.

Criticisng the state government, he said in 1984, upper limit had been fixed at about 1,000 quintals but after 24 years now, the limit was reduced to such a meagre quantity, compelling traders to resort to agitation.

Meanwhile, the FJCCI also decided to stop importing foodgrains from other states.

Jharkhand heavily depends on other states for foodgrains and 90 per cent of the state's requirement comes from Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

FJCCI president Manoj Naredi said a memorandum was sent to Chief Minister Madhu Koda and Food and Supply Minister Kamlesh Kumar Singh for relaxation in the provisions of the ECA.

In protest, traders in Bokaro and Dhanbad had already stopped buying foodgrains.

UNI AM-PRS DPM AB 1316

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