Mumbai, Apr 11: Members of Mumbai Dryfruits and Dates Merchants Association today went on an indefinite strike demanding withdrawl of 12.5 per cent VAT being levied on wet dates (khajur).
Association President Sunil Chhabria said that Maharashtra Finance Minister Jayant Patil in the state budget had announced the proposal to implement VAT of 12.5 per cent on wet dates (khajur) with effect from April 1 this year.
He said, ''Sale of wet dates (khajur) was exempted from VAT upto March 31. However, the VAT of 12.5 per cent post April 1, is totally uncalled for. This is obviously in sharp contrast to the Centre's policy of globalisation and liberalisation.'' He elaborated, ''The office of sales tax tribunal in Mumbai had passed a judgement bringing wet dates (khajur) under the purview of fresh fruits,'' adding, ''even Ministry of Food Processing Industries in New Delhi had confirmed that wet dates (khajur) were covered under the category of fresh fruits.'' In India, Hey Bunder at Sewri in south central mumbai is exclusively alloted by the Mumbai Port Trust for loading and unloading of wet dates (khajur) imported into the country. More than 90 per cent of total import cargo landed in Mumbai is exported outside Maharashtra through the well laid-down distribution channel all over India, Mr Chhabria added.