Traders associations have planned a large-scale agitation against the proposed Local Body Tax on Friday, when lakhs of them from across the state will march from Carnac Bunder in south Mumbai to Azad Maidan.
The traders’ bodies will also decide course of action of protests in the public meeting that will be held at Azad Maidan.
“Traders from across Maharashtra will converge here and register their opposition to the LBT,” said Vinesh Metha, treasurer, Federation of Traders of Maharashtra.
Traffic in south Mumbai could once again by affected during the mass agitation on Friday. Traders have been carrying out rallies and protests since Monday.
On Thursday, the fourth day of the agitation, wholesale markets remained closed through the day. Traders at Lohar Chawl, a market for electrical goods, tried to host a mock funeral of the tax regime, but were stopped by the police.
The LBT, which is supposed to be implemented by October, will replace the octroi system and is a self-declaratory tax for which traders have to declare all the goods which are imported into the city not meant for export.
Traders, who wanted the octroi tax to be scrapped and replaced by VAT, fear that the system will result in a license Raj and harassment of traders.
“We want LBT to be scrapped, while the state is only talking of amendments,” said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), the state should now adopt a flexible approach. Shah said that customers would be the ultimate sufferers of LBT.
The traders have been observing bandhs and carrying out rallies to oppose the tax. Retail traders have also indicated that they would join the protests from next Monday, but the decision on this will be taken during the meeting at Azad Maidan.
The state government, however, is firm on LBT. “We need revenue to run civic services, so implementation of LBT is inevitable. The traders are being unreasonable,” said a senior bureaucrat.