Almost all the shops across the state remained closed on Friday following a day-long Jharkhand bandh called by the traders to protest the imposition of value added tax (VAT) on textiles and increase in taxes on motor parts.
Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) had called a dawn-to-dusk bandh demanding withdrawal of VAT on textiles and reduction of tax on motor parts.
The state government a couple of months ago had imposed 4% VAT on blankets, towels, bed sheets and other textiles. It had also increased VAT on plywood and motor parts by 8%. State aims to collect around Rs 100 crore by increasing VAT on textile and automobile spares.
More than 50,000 shops, including 15,000 in the state capital, remained closed as mark of protest. The bandh was successful in almost all the cities, including Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Lohardaga as hundreds of traders came out on street to protest the increase in VAT. However, schools, college, offices and health services were not affected due to the bandh.
FJCCI president Pradeep Sharma said the protest was carried out mainly to protect interest of both business community and common man. "Common man suffers the most from VAT on textiles. Most of the states in the country do not take VAT on textile and our demand is that Jharkhand should also adopt the same system," said Sharma.
The bandh became successful also because it had a support of major political parties, including Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik. Jharkhand Small Industries Association (JSIA) also supported the bandh on moral grounds.
Sharma, however, said that the bandh was not the end of their protest. "We will continue with the protest till the state government accepts our demand and ends VAT on textile and motor parts," said Sharma.
The next phase of agitation will begin as and when the 34th National Games will be over by February 26. At present, the traders are not in a mood to create disturbance and earn bad name in front of visitors.