Free Press Journal

Protest against GST continues in Gujarat


Gandhinagar : Though powerloom owners of Surat called off their strike, the textile trade continues to hold out with no trading reported over the last 20 days as they seek withdrawal of the 5 per cent GST imposed on the textile industry.

Before the imposition of GST, the textile industry had been exempted from taxation.

“Ours is a low-cost industry as the Surat textile apparatus largely caters to the rural and the poor of the country with our sarees costing as low as Rs 60 to Rs 70. With the imposition of GST the price of these products will go up almost three times,” says M Agarwal, president of the Surat Textile Traders Association.

The Surat textile strike took a political turn after the police lathi charged a rally taken out to protest the GST imposition on July 8 and the traders who have traditionally been BJP backers threatened to quit the ruling party. Attempts to forcibly break the strike only added fuel to fire.

Trade sources put the losses to industry in view of the strike at over Rs 5000 crores and said that we have been making repeated presentations but while assurances have been forthcoming unofficially nothing concrete has emerged so far.

With the situation in relation to the textile trade stir acquiring serious political implications in view of the state assembly elections due later this year, the Centre had sent union minister for Road, transport and Highways, Mansukh Mandavia to Surat to soothe ruffled feathers and hold talks with the traders to pacify them.

However, nothing emerged beyond the assurance that the minister would carry their voice to New Delhi.

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