Traders under the banner of the Confederation of All-India Traders organised a dharna at Ajmere Gate Chowk here on Friday protesting against increase in VAT rates and amendments to the VAT Act.

Addressing the traders, CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal described the State Government's moves as “draconian and arbitrary”.

“Such steps would kill the trade of Delhi and also destroy the fabric of the distributive character of the city trade. The recent hike in VAT rates from 5 per cent to 12.5 per cent on a number of commodities has resulted in a business loss of about 30 to 40 per cent in the first month of the current fiscal year itself.”

Stating that the distortion in VAT had put several questions on implementation of the goods and services tax regime, Mr. Khandelwal said the distortions in VAT would lead to migration of Delhi businessmen to other adjoining cities including Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon. “This would cause major loss to the Delhi Government in terms of revenue generation.”

The trade leaders called for initiating a legal battle to protect the interest of the trading community as the Government had failed to protect their interests. To finalise the action plan, a meeting of trade associations has been convened in the Capital this coming Tuesday.

Delhi Iron and Hardware Merchants' Association president Satender Jain said there was a downfall of about 30 per cent in business of hardware trade, while Paharganj Plywood and Timber Merchants' Association president Narender Gupta claimed a business loss of about 40 per cent in the timber and plywood trade.

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