Model Code of Conduct move a problem for traders

A day after the Model Code of Conduct came into force, traders here have started feeling the heat of intensive vehicle checks in Madurai district during which over Rs.20 lakh was seized from different persons.

The move, aimed at curtailing the use of money power to woo voters, is seen as a major problem for traders.

“At a time when businessmen are finding it tough to collect money from small traders due to economic slowdown, seizure of money will hit the traders badly,” said S. Rethinavelu, senior president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“For example, any person, who is able to show the receipt of having withdrawn money from a bank, should be allowed to carry the money. Similarly, traders on producing receipts or bills for having collected money from other businessmen should not be punished by way of seizure,” he said.

“Money collection is often done during odd hours and after bank working hours, and we cannot deposit it in banks. Carrying money per se is not an offence,” he said.

A youth, K. Balakrishnan, of P and T Nagar, said the police seized Rs.2 lakh from him.

“Initially, they asked me to account for the money for immediate return of cash. When I showed bank statement of having withdrawn the money two days back, they refused to hand over the cash and directed me to the Collectorate,” he said.

Mr.Balakrishnan said he was going to T. Kallupatti to take back jewellery pledged with two nationalised banks. At the Collectorate, he was directed to meet Income Tax officials.

However, the IT officials had told him that they had nothing to do with the issue.

“Members of a family were crying after seizure of their money, claiming that they had to rush with the money to foot hospital bills for their relative who is in the intensive care unit,” Mr.Balakrishnan said.

Mr.Rethinavelu said the Election Commission should come up with a guideline which ensured that people carrying cash for their business or personal purposes could do so without any problem.

Madurai Collector L. Subramanian said money would not be seized from those who were able to produce evidence of bank withdrawal.

“Such an issue was brought to my notice today (Thursday) and it has been sorted out. People can produce the documents to Personal Assistant to Collector (Accounts) and get their money back,” he added.

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