Congress opposes stringent penal provisions in VAT in Gujarat
Ahmedabad, Apr 6 (UNI) Even though State government has decided not to take punitive action against traders violating Value Added Tax (VAT) Rules till April 30, traders continued with the indefinite 'Gujarat Bandh' in protest against certain provisions of VAT for the second day today.
Condemning lathi charge on a peaceful demonstration by traders in Ahmedabad yesterday, Pradesh Congress President Bharat Solanki and Leader of the Opposition Arjun Modhvadia protested against the Narendra Modi government's 'coercive methods to silence the agitating traders.' Addressing a joint press conference here, they alleged that Mr Modi, who holds the Home and Finance portfolios, has directed his cabinet colleagues and senior officers to foil the bandh by all means.
They alleged that Rajkot Collector had admonished Saurashtra Chamber of Commerce leader Parag Tajura last night, asking him to withdraw the bandh or face ''dire consequence.'' He had even sent policemen to Mr Tajura's residence to threaten him.
VAT being a national consensus, the Congress leaders said their party supported it, but they objected to the provisions of imprisonment for small mistakes of traders.
Similarly, Mr Solanki and Modhvadia pointed out, BJP government has not fulfilled its yet another committment to abolish octroi as part of implementation of VAT.
According to reports reaching here, the bandh call has evoked mixed response in different cities.
In Ahmedabad, shops remained closed in most of the wholesale and retail markets in the unorganised sector, while Malls and Super Markets remained open. No untoward incident was reported till late evening.
In Vadodara traders joined the agitation today. In Jamnagar city, business activities came to a grinding halt from today.
The Chief Minister's assurance to solve their problems with regards to VAT has had no effect on the agitating traders.
Addressing a rally at Rajkot, Mr Modi said no penal action would be taken against the erring traders till April 30.
Sales Tax Commissioner last night had come out with a similar statement that no action would be taken against the traders who fail to comply with the conditions in the implementation of VAT and said the government is committed to explain the provisions of the tax to the traders.
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