The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Textiles Associations (APFTA) has warned the state government of intensifying its statewide agitation demanding revocation of the four percent VAT on textiles, even as cloth merchants in the twin cities downed their shutters on Wednesday, the first day of the twoday bandh called by the federation.Addressing textile traders during the launch of the bandh, Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu said the government should withdraw VAT on textiles as it would burden the common man while indirectly affecting 8 lakh workers and traders in the textile business. It would also give scope for harassment of traders by officials, he said.Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Orissa and
Rajasthan too introduced VAT on textiles but later withdrew it, bowing to public pressure. The AP government, in the name of VAT, was looking to tax even small traders and workers, Naidu alleged. He extended TDP's support to the textile traders' agitation.CPI state secretary K Narayana threatened halfnaked demonstrations under the aegis of the left parties if VAT was not withdrawn in a month. "VAT will drive away business to the neighbouring states which do not have the tax and push the local textile traders into a crisis," he warned. "The CPI will support the APFTA and participate in its agitations," he said."Why is the government taxing small traders and the working class while sparing the big businessmen?" wondered CPM state general secretary BV Raghavulu.Soma Dayanand, general secretary of APFTA, said the central government had revoked VAT on textiles in April followed by many state governments.