The Poultry Farmers and Traders Coordination Committee, which has been on an indefinite strike in the State for the past five days, has decided to intensify the agitation.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the committee, an umbrella organisation in the poultry sector, held here on Monday.

However, E.P. Jayarajan MLA, patron of the Coordination Committee, will conduct discussions with Finance Minister K.M. Mani in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday evening.

The agitation was launched on August 28 in protest against the government’s decision to raise the tax on chicken. The government has recently increased the basic price of the chicken from Rs.70 to Rs.95 a kg.

Kerala was the only State which imposed 14.5 per cent luxury tax on chicken.

Committee charge

Instead of encouraging the farmers, the government was taking an indifferent attitude towards the sector, the committee alleged.

The agitators are also blocking vehicles transporting chicken from Tamil Nadu to Kerala at the check posts. The committee flayed the increase in the basic price of chicken from Rs.70 to Rs.95 and chicks from Rs.25 to Rs.35.

The poultry farmers and traders urged the government to raise their tax exemption level from Rs.10 lakh to 60 lakh.

The State has about 60,000 poultry farmers. Cancellation of the circular of the Sales Tax Commissioner increasing the basic price of chicken, increasing the level of tax exemption for poultry farmers, withdrawing tax for chicks, simplification of farm licensing procedures and stringent action against officials who harass farmers are among the committee’s demands.

The Farmers and Traders Committee, All-Kerala Chicken Merchants and Commission Agents Association, Kerala Poultry Farmers and Traders Association and All-Kerala Poultry Federation are the various organisations under the co-ordination committee.

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