Mumbai: Banking activities here remained paralysed
and most businesses were shut too Tuesday, day two of the
indefinite strike called by over 1.5 million traders and
manufacturers to protest the Maharashtra's government's local body
tax (LBT) in lieu of octroi.
Millions of customers were inconvenienced as neighbourhood retail
shops, wholesale trading in clothes, electronics, hardware,
metals, cloth, foodgrains, fruits, vegetables and all types of
manufacturing activities in Mumbai were shut.
"Over a million retailers have wholeheartedly joined the strike
from Tuesday, besides another half a million plus wholesalers and
traders in Mumbai, barring certain essentials like pharmacies,"
Federation of Associations of Maharashtra president Mohan Gurnani
He claimed this was the biggest response to a trade shutdown since
the famous all-India strike of 1979 and said the trading community
in Mumbai and other parts of the state had participated
The Mumbai-based Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association
(FRTWA) has joined its one million plus counterparts in the rest
of Maharashtra, large sections of which have been on regular
strikes or agitations since April 22 following a call by
Confederation of All India Traders.
"If the state government does not roll back the LBT and revert to
octroi, it will mean a loss of around Rs.5 million per day in
Mumbai alone," FRTWA chief Viren Shah warned.
LBT, which replaced the traditional octroi in the various
municipalities in the state, is an account-based cess collection
for every raw material used or imported into the city limits by
all businesses, traders and manufacturers.
While it has already been implemented in most parts of Maharashtra
from April 1, it is due to be implemented in Mumbai from Oct 1.
Not willing to bow down to the traders, Chief Minister Prithviraj
Chavan announced Monday evening that LBT will be implemented
despite the traders' demands to scrap it.
Seeking the cooperation of opposition parties, especially Shiv
Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party, Chavan said necessary legislation
for this would be enacted in the monsoon session and LBT
implemented across the state.
Chavan also urged the trading community to refrain from opposing
LBT and resolve the issue through a dialogue instead of going on