Traders from districts take out rally against the State government's decision

Cloth merchants and traders have vowed not to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) from customers nor pay it to the government.

The merchants and traders from four districts -- Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, and Khammam -- turned up in large numbers to protest against the 4 per cent VAT being imposed by the State government here on Wednesday.

Sporting black badges and holding placards and banners, the merchants took out a rally from PWD Grounds to Tummalapalli Kshetrayya Kalakshetram.

Meeting held

The rally culminated in a meeting at Kalakshetram which was jampacked with cloth merchants.

On the occasion, the merchants came down heavily on the government for bringing textile business under VAT purview.

The elected representatives have shown little interest to resolve the traders' problem, while the government was busy in tallying its MLAs, they said.

Strongly deploring the imposition of VAT on textiles, the speakers said that it would affect small shops on which petty businessmen and a large number of workers were depend.

Threatening to continue the agitation, the speakers said that VAT would become a big burden on consumers and affect the textile business in the State.

Only Andhra Pradesh government was imposing it. “We don't mind if any tax was imposed across India as it would cause burden equally. We fear that business would go to other states due to VAT,” they said.

Every new Chief Minister was experimenting and imposing new taxes on traders. The cloth merchants have been waging struggles against unlawful taxes for decades now.

No government that went against the traders had survived, said B. Malleswara Reddy, convenor of AP VAT Action Committee.

The government was bound to bow down, if all the traders were up in arms against the VAT, he said, adding, “let us not collect VAT from customers. Nor we pay the tax to the government.”

CPI(M) State committee member Ch. Babu Rao, AP Federation of Textiles Associations vice-president B. Venkata Narasimha Rao, general secretary Sama Dayanand, Wholesale Cloth Market Committee president Bommana Rajkumar, Rajahmundry Chamber of Commerce president Pokala Seethaiah, and others spoke.

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