Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 13:
The Odisha government today invited the Federation of All Odisha Traders Association (FAOTA) for a meeting in
the evening with the Ministers of Finance and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare.
Traders under the banner of FAOTA are on a strike since April 9 and have stopped import of pulses, wheat and wheat products from outside the state pressing for a waiver of the five percent value added tax (VAT) on these items.
The decision to invite the striking traders appears to be a come down for the state government, which had said in clear terms that the trade body’s proposal for levy of one percent Entry Tax instead of five percent VAT was not possible at this juncture since the matter is pending at the Supreme Court.
It had also announced its decision to constitute a state level purchase committee for procurement of pulses in view of the ongoing strike by traders.
At its steering committee meeting yesterday, which had representation from all districts, the FAOTA had decided to go ahead with its strike till the government yielded to its demands.
The traders’ body had said neither it nor the consumers had the patience to bear with the government till the introduction of the GST in the state,which would have uniform rates of tax on all products across the states. The office bearers of the FAOTA had said that introduction of GST was a subject under the jurisdiction of the Centre and its implementation was uncertain.
The government had decided to float tenders for procurement of 10,000 tonnes of pulses in the first phase which would be made available to the public across the state through 20,000 fair price shops.
The state government had also directed all district collectors to be on the alert against black marketers and hoarders and to tighten enforcement measures.