NAGPUR: Up in arms against the Local Body Tax (LBT), traders from the city have called for an indefinite strike against the levy. Both major business guilds of the city – Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce (NVCC) and Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited (NCCL) – have decided to go ahead with the agitation. The two are umbrella organizations for smaller business associations.
The traders are aiming to cut off supplies to the city by not bringing in goods, so that the very liability of paying LBT does not arise. LBT has replaced octroi from April 1 onwards. This is the second time that traders had gone on an indefinite strike. Ironically, the earlier agitation was against the introduction of octroi in 1982. It was withdrawn on an assurance that the government would do away with the tax, but it was only replaced by LBT some 30 years later.
However, sources in the trade community admit that even as the associations are trying hard, the strike may be limited to wholesalers, as they are affiliated to some or the other association. It is difficult to organize the retailers down the line, though the shops in some pockets of the city may remain closed. There is no support from the malls too. Medical stores and petrol pumps too will remain open as essential items. Public and private modes of transport will also operate as usual.
The neighborhood provision stores have enough supplies of all types of goods, including food grains, said a trader on condition of anonymity.
With this, the common man is not going to be affected anytime so soon. The supply of fast moving goods may not be hampered too, since the retailers down the line get supplies directly from companies or their agents. The malls also have independent supply chains, so there is no question of supplies getting exhausted there.
President of NVCC Dipen Agrawal said the association has got support from all constituent members. The traders will not only stop importing goods into the city but also not register under the new law. Kailash Jogani of NCCL also confirmed that its members and associations are joining the strike.