Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 3:
The Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Associations (FAOTA) today announced that it has decided to suspend its strike till May 26.
“After a meeting with the State Government yesterday, a written assurance from the Chief Secretary and CMO’s intervention, we have decided to suspend our import ban till May 26. However, we will reconsider our options if the government doesn’t take any action by that time,” said FAOTA General Secretary Sudhakar Panda after a general body meeting of the trader’s body today.
“It will take three to four days for the imports to be normal. We have sufficient stock of essential commodities and the consumers shouldn’t worry. However, there has been a minor price rise of certain commodities such as Palmolein oil, sugar etc. We urge the consumers to cross check the price with our bulletins everyday and report cases of overpricing to the government and us,” he added.
Notably, Panda after a meeting with Finance Minister Pradeep Amat yesterday hinted that FAOTA would call off its self imposed import ban of essential food items; however, the official announcement was pending until the general body meeting today.
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.