Delhi traders threaten to stop paying GST, warn they will shift to NCR if sealing continues
On Wednesday, over 7,000 traders, their workers and family members gathered at Ramlila Maidan to protest against the sealing drive by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.delhi Updated: Mar 28, 2018 23:52 IST
The traders and shopkeepers have threatened to stop paying the Goods and Service Tax (GST) if the Central government fails to provide relief from the ongoing sealing drive.
On Wednesday, over 7,000 traders, their workers and family members gathered at Ramlila Maidan to protest against the sealing drive by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.
Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary, Confederation of All India Traders, said if the state government doesn’t take cognisance of their sufferings, they will shift their business operations to cities in National Capital Region (NCR).
“It’s high time; we want solution to this problem. We can’t constantly live under the threat of sealing. If the situation doesn’t improve in the next one week, we may take strong steps like discontinuing paying GST. We will hand over our shops’ keys to the government and shift business to NCR,” Khandelwal said on Wednesday.
The move will surely affect the Centre, which collects Rs 180 crore every day and Rs 5,416 crore every month as GST from Delhi’s traders, said Khandelwal.
Hitting out at the monitoring committee, traders said that its members are giving targets to the municipal corporation officials for sealing certain number of shops every day.
“They are acting like multinationals and giving task to 650 engineers in three MCDs for sealing certain number of shops every day, irrespective of the fact whether sealing is legal or illegal. If this continues, 25,000 shops will be sealed in the city in next one month,” said Khandelwal.
Shopkeepers said they were being denied benefit of fundamental provisions of Delhi Municipal Act, 1957.
“Moreover, the MCD officials are working like puppets, defying their own DMC Act and failing to justify their cases before the monitoring committee. Traders are being treated like terrorists in their own country,” said Satyendra Wadhwa from Greater Kailash II.
“In last three months, trade in Delhi has declined by about 40% due to sealing. We suspect that sealing has been used as a tool to increase the foreign direct investment in retail markets,” said Khandelwal.
Traders want the Central government to bring a moratorium bill and demand that Delhi chief minister should pass a bill to stop sealing. Also, an amnesty scheme notifying December 2017 as the cut-off date for construction should be maintained.
Traders from various markets such as Chawri Bazaar, Chhatarpur, Greater Kailash, South Extension, Jagatpuri, Defence Colony and Meharchand Market gathered near the Civic Centre in the morning and then moved to the Ramlila Ground chanting slogans against sealing.
“Around 7,000 people turned up at the event while 8,000 seats were placed and not all were occupied. Ample parking space for buses and cars near Mata Sundri College and Rajghat was provided but only 60-65 buses were parked. No traffic chaos was reported,” said a senior traffic police official.
However, traders association claimed that about 50,000 people joined the rally. “There were others who couldn’t reach the venue due to poor parking arrangements. People coming in three buses from Jagatpuri and Krishna Nagar had to walk from Rajgaht as buses were not allowed to go to Ramlila Ground. They were able to reach the venue only after 1 pm,” said Ashok Suri, president of East Delhi Traders and Jewellers Associations.