Wholesale associations on Friday reportedly forced several retailers in Sion, Dahisar, Goregaon, Vile Parle, Ghatkopar and other areas to down their shutters to support the strike against the local body tax (LBT).
Several store owners have also been complaining of associations demanding a fine of up to Rs 5,000 if they don’t support the strike.
“We can’t afford to shut our business, but associations have been forcing us to do so despite availability of goods in the wholesale market,” said a grocery store owner in Dadar.
While wholesale markets for perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables and grains are open, sugar and spice markets have remained shut.
The sugar and spice traders will meet on Saturday to decide whether they want to continue or call off the strike.
“To maintain discipline, some of the area associations may be collecting fines from retailer. We have not issued any directive to shut shops or collect fines,” said Mohan Gurnani, president, Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM).
Calling the committee set up under chief secretary JK Banthia a farce, Milapchand Kanungo, vice-president of FAM, said, “There has to be equal representation of government officials and traders in the committee.”
However, a majority of retail associations said they had no objections to the tax anymore. “We are supporting LBT because assessment-based tax is a better way of taxation. There is no need to protest against it, the government's intention seems clear,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailer Association of India.