22 Apr 2013

Maharashtra traders shut shop against new local tax

Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) Over a million wholesale traders and manufacturers launched an indefinite strike here Monday opposing the Maharashtra government's levy of local body tax in lieu of octroi, it was announced here.
The LBT, as the new tax is known, which replaced the traditional octroi in the various municipalities in the state, is an account-based cess collection for every raw material brought into the city limits by all businesses, traders and manufacturers.
The strike will see participation of around 500,000 retailers from Mumbai and Thane for Monday only, while retailers from Pune and the rest of Maharashtra will join the agitation for two days, said Federation of Retail Traders' Welfare Association president Viren Shah.
The indefinite strike call for wholesellers and manufacturers has been issued by the Confederation of All India Traders and supported by the Federation of Retail Traders' Welfare Association (FRTWA), Shah said.
"We do not want the LBT under any circumstances. We shall surrender our LBT registration by next week if the government does not withdraw it," Shah said.
A Pune traders panel has moved the Supreme Court challenging the LBT and the plea will come up for hearing May 7, Shah said.
While the new civic body tax has already been implemented in most parts of Maharashtra from April 1, it is due to be imposed in Mumbai from Oct 1.
Shah said that on account of Monday's strike in Mumbai, retailers will incur a loss of over Rs.500 crore while the losses in other parts of the state are being calculated.

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