Trade Body Threatens Agitation In UP

Lucknow, March 26: | Updated: Mar 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Uttar Pradesh Beopar Mandal, a body representing all industrial and trade organisations in the state, has threatened to block all vehicular and rail traffic on March 31 and April 1 in protest against the imposition of VAT in the state from April 1.

In a novel method of protest, traders removed their shirts and marched through main markets to Vidhan Sabha raising slogans against VAT.

The agitating traders were, however, stopped before the state Assembly and taken to Police lines and were later let off.

The traders led by Banwar Lal Kanchhal, general secretary of the UP Beopar Mandal presented a memorandum to Lalji Tandon, a cabinet minister in Mayawati government alleging that VAT would lead to a sharp rise in prices of consumer goods and was anti-consumer. Chander Kumar Chhabra, media incharge of the Beopar Mandal said the traders body had decided to hold "chakka jaam" on March 31 and Apri l 1 in protest against the VAT.

Both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party are opposing the VAT system.

Officials agree that there may be some price rise initially but that would be only during the transition period but they say that only dishonest and ignorant businessmen were opposing the new system which would benefit them and the consumers in the long run.