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Chemists down shutters to protest VAT
March 25, 2003 17:45 IST
Chemists and druggists across the country on Wednesday downed their shutters to protest the introduction of value added tax from April 1, leaving patients high and dry.
Barring a few emergency medical stores, pharmacies remained closed in response to the nation-wide bandh called by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists.
All states except Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh have geared up to implement the VAT following the Centre's nod for the requisite legislation.
In Lucknow, UP Medicine and Drug Association said the strike was near-total. It warned of an indefinite shutdown from April 1 if the government did not rescind its order implementing VAT.
Traders in the New Delhi will meet on Wednesday to work out their strategy even as Bharat Udyog Vyapar Mandal has given a call for an All-India Trade Bandh on March 31.
Putting medicines under the slab of 12.5 per cent would lead to sharp increase in their prices which would hit the common man, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders Praveen Khandelwal said.
He demanded withdrawal of levies such as octroi, entry tax, cess and surcharge before the introduction of VAT.
In Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the state government would introduce the VAT regime from April 1, subject to changes based on the feedback and suggestions from the industry.
Trade and commerce came to a grinding halt in Orissa as businesses were shut to protest the introduction of VAT.
In Kolkata, textile traders staged a massive rally demanding withdrawal of VAT and announced they would join the all India strike on March 31 and April 1 called by All-India Textile Traders Association.
Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang on Wednesday introduced the Value Added Tax Bill in the assembly even as druggists downed their shutters.
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