Odisha traders, who are not allowing import of essential food items from other states to protest against imposition of VAT, are likely to withdraw their strike as state Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat has assured that he will look into the matter. The Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Associations (FAOTA), however, did not make any such announcement saying it would make public its stand on the strike on Sunday.
The traders stopped import of essential food items from other states since Saturday demanding withdrawal of 5% Value Addition Tax (VAT) being levied by the Odisha government. “After the Budget Session which ends on May 26, we will sit with its (FAOTA) members and discuss the matter in details. They agreed to withdraw the ongoing strike from tomorrow,” Amat said.
FAOTA general secretary Sudhakar, however, said, “We will officially announce our stand on strike after the general body meeting tomorrow.” The traders claimed that Odisha was among the five states in the country which imposed 5% VAT on food items while 25 others states have exempted VAT on pulses, wheat and wheat products. Last year too, the traders had resorted to a five-day strike before calling it off with the government forming a committee to examine their demand to lift VAT.