The relay hunger strike of textile traders entered the 12th day on Wednesday. The traders, who are up in arms against the Value Added Tax (VAT) on textiles and inclusion of textiles in sensitive commodities list, staged a novel protest by cleaning the vehicles passing through Vastralatha and One Town area.
The traders stopped buses, cars, and autorickshaws to explain the government’s ‘indifferent attitude’ towards them. They cleaned the windshields with sarees that were lying in heaps in the transport godowns. The sarees were damaged as they were stockpiled at the godowns for long. Cloth Merchants’ Association president Chintalapudi Raghuram said that the textile traders in Surat, Mumbai, and other places supported the bandh in the State and submitted memoranda to their Chief Ministers in this regard. With the participation of shopping malls in the State, the agitation got a fillip.
CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao and others visited the relay hunger strike camp to express their solidarity. The VAT on textiles was not a problem isolated to textile traders alone. It was a burden on the people. The government decision to include textiles in sensitive commodities list would deprive the people of clothes also. Small and petty traders would be thrown out of job, he said.