Even as thousands of traders marched to the Azad Maidan, on Monday, the traders’ strike against the proposed local body tax got mixed response, as many shops remained open.
Traders have been protesting on grounds that the proposed LBT that replaces octroi would lead to their harassment. While shops in Zaveri Bazar, Mumbadevi and Pydhonie remained shut, markets in Kalbadevi and Chira Bazaar functioned normally. More than 30,000 shops in Navi Mumbai were closed.
Mohan Gurnani, president, Federation Associations of Maharashtra) said, “We are ready to pay VAT, but not LBT.”
With markets in Dadar and Girgaum being shut on Monday every week, the strike hardly affected people. However, policemen were deployed outside malls as a precautionary measure.
The Confederation of All India Traders, Maharashtra, said that the business in the APMC market will resume from Wednesday. “Even a small businessman such as a paanwala will have to shell out Rs800 as LBT every month,” said K Rana, president of the confederation.
Traders have been complaining that instead of LBT, the state should levy a surcharge . “This is a case of double taxation,” said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association. “If the government doesn’t pay heed, the traders will surrender their licences,” Kirti Rana, president, Navi Mumbai Merchants Chamber and Confederation of All India Traders, state chapter, said.
(Inputs from G. Mohiuddin Jeddy)