The 350-member-strong Calcutta Paper Traders' Association could not express its angst to Dr Asim Dasgupta, the Finance Minister, and Mr H.K. Dwivedi, West Bengal Commercial Tax Commissioner, as both guests could not make it to the 88th AGM of the association.
The association was ready with a long list of taxing and business-related problems.
Mr Sushanta Dhar, President of the association, told Business Line that despite implementation of VAT in the State, some 100-odd paper and paper product traders have not been able to obtain registration, allegedly because of bureaucratic lethargy.
Paper traders are also at a loss as to why the State Government cannot refund surplus sales tax payment, made in 2004-05, even after the closure of the 2006-07 fiscal.
India Paper Pulp, a sick State Government-owned paper unit, which has already sold its assets, has not settled its dues to the distributors.
The association is also baffled by the recent moves of Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) in terms of appointing dealers in West Bengal. The association spokesperson said that the Central PSU has hiked the deposits for dealership this fiscal from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 60 lakh.
It also claimed that the company raised the bar for monthly offtake to an unrealistic level of 400 tonnes per month, up from 200 tonnes applicable till March 31, 2007.
The new criterion of Rs 12 crore annual turnover in three consecutive years for a dealership applicants is described by the trade association as an insurmountable hurdle simply because local paper dealers' balance sheets are of smaller size.