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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 20, 2013
After dealing with inflated costs and unavailability of goods for weeks, people are likely to get some relief as agitating traders are considering suspending their strike till May 24.

Traders, who have been protesting against the state government’s decision to replace octroi with local body tax (LBT) from October, softened their stand after Union agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar heard them out on Sunday. Pawar will accompany them when they meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on May 24.

The Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) will meet its traders on Monday to take a decision. “Pawar has requested us to call off the strike until the meeting with the CM,” said Mohan Gurnani, president, FAM.

While retailers in Thane suspended their ongoing strike on Sunday evening, many shops across Mumbai that had downed shutters also seem to have opted out of the agitation. “Considering the extent of losses, there is a need for immediate intervention. But if our demands are not considered, we may have to continue our agitation,” said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.

Traders want the state government to put in place a specialised software for tax calculations and include the tax within VAT.