Odisha traders suspend strike over VAT issue

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Bhubaneswar, April 3 (IANS) The Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Associations (FAOTA) on Sunday announced suspension of its strike on the VAT issue and decided to resume buying of essential food items from other states.

The traders went on strike on April 1 to protest against the five percent Value Addition Tax (VAT) levied by the Odisha government on the purchase of pulses, wheat and wheat products from other states.

The traders took the decision on the strike’s suspension after a meeting with the government on Saturday.

“We have got a written government assurance that it will consider our demands. So, we suspended our strike till May 26 when the assembly budget session will end,” said FAOTA general secretary Sudhakar Panda.

He said the traders will consider their future course of action if the government failed to act on their demands by then.

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Finance Minister Pradeep Amat said the Biju Janata Dal government will discuss the demands with FAOTA after the assembly session ended.

The FAOTA said 25 states had exempted pulses, wheat and wheat products from VAT.

The state consumes about 67,000 tonnes of pulses and 12,000 tonnes of wheat products every month, with a large chunk bought from other states.

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