CM should accept moral responsibility for decline in business: Narayanasamy

Blame game dominated the first conference of the newly-formed Federation of Traders of Associations of Puducherry, inaugurated by Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and attended by Union Minister V. Narayanasamy here on Tuesday.

While Mr. Rangasamy blamed the Union government for introducing Value Added Tax, Mr. Narayanasamy blamed the N.R. Congress government for the decline in business and trade activities in Puducherry.

Mr. Rangasamy said that the Union Territory of Puducherry stood second in per capita income at the national level. It had gone up to Rs.1.75 lakh. It was owing to good avenues created by the government for doing business and trading opportunities in Puducherry.

Blaming the Centre for introducing VAT, he said his government never intended to implement the tax in Puducherry. He had even boycotted conferences conducted by the Centre to avoid implementation of VAT. However, continuous pressure forced his government to introduce VAT on some items. When traders pleaded with him to reduce VAT on five items, he reduced it on 10 items in the last budget. Accepting the main demand of the Federation, Mr. Rangasamy promised that traders’ welfare board would be formed very soon.

Mr. Narayanasamy came to the conference minutes after Mr. Rangasamy left the venue.

Delivering a special address, he spoke on incidents of attack on traders by anti-social elements for ransom. Business in Puducherry, which was once preferred by many in neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu, had declined owing to the inefficiency of Mr. Rangasamy in controlling anti-social elements. The Chief Minister didn’t bother much about the hue and cry raised by traders. Mr. Rangasamy should accept moral responsibility for the decline in business, the Union Minister said. Wrong policies and programmes of his government had prevented people from Tamil Nadu to visit Puducherry for shopping, Mr. Narayanasamy alleged. Earlier, hundreds of traders took out a rally from Cuddalore Road to Anna Thidal and vowed for the unity of traders.

Shops closed

On Tuesday, almost all shops in Puducherry remained closed without any prior announcement.

“If there had been some announcement, we would have stocked upon essential commodities,” Ashok from Kurusikuppam said.

Most of the shops, including even roadside vendors kept their shutters down on the day to show solidarity towards the trader’s conference.

“While many of us decided to close our shops, some of us were threatened with dire consequences if we remained open during the conference,” one of the shopkeepers said.

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