Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 2:
After two-day-long self imposed import ban of essential food items, the Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Associations (FAOTA) today agreed to withdraw their strike following a discussion with the Odisha Government.
The decision came after Finance Minister Pradeep Amat assured FAOTA that the government would hold talks with the traders on the VAT issue after the Budget Session of the Assembly gets over on May 26.
A formal announcement, however, is likely to be made tomorrow.
“We will officially convey our stand on the food import issue after the general body meeting tomorrow,” said FAOTA General Secretary Sudhakar Panda after the meeting with Amat this evening.
Notably, the FAOTA had stopped the import of essential commodities such as pulses, wheat and wheat products, sugar, rice and edible oil from other states starting April 1 protesting against 5% value added tax (VAT) imposed on these items by the state government.
The traders’ body has been citing that as many as 25 states have exempted VAT on pulses, wheat and wheat products and has been demanding imposition of unitary tax instead of 5% VAT on these items.
The FAOTA had also earlier threatened to stop the import of such items and in June 2015 following which the State Government had formed a committee to resolve the issue and had promised to solve the issue within three months.
The state consumes about 67,000 metric tonne (MT) of pulses and 12,000 MT of wheat products every month. A large chunk of these consumables is imported from other states.