Shops remained closed in response to the nationwide call for a 'Bharat bandh' over GST complications on Friday.
Shops remained closed in response to the nationwide call for a 'Bharat bandh' over GST complications on Friday.

BHOPAL: Business establishments remained closed till 2.00 pm in Madhya Pradesh in response to the nationwide call by the Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT) for 12-hour ‘Bharat bandh’ in protest against GST complications and the hike in petrol and diesel prices.

After 2.00 pm, shops started opening across the state. It was a peaceful ‘Bharat bandh’ in Madhya Pradesh. CAIT attributed the early opening of the shops to the flexibility given to the traders of Madhya Pradesh as there was a bandh over the petrol and diesel price hike on February 20.

In Bhopal, shops downed shutters in Old, as well as New Bhopal, from the morning. At major markets, such as New Market, Chowk Bazar, Jumerati, Hanumanganj, shops were closed as a mark of protest.

Bone of contention

The traders want the Centre to review the provisions of GST and simplify the tax system in India. They claim that GST is one of the “most complex taxation systems” and has severely affected traders and needs to be rewritten. Some of the trouble-making provisions:

  • Illogical and huge penalties for small errors

  • Threat of cancellation of GST registration

  • Not giving opportunity to rectify error in GSTRs (GST returns)

The agitators are also protesting over the provisions of the new E-way law and sky-rocketing petrol and diesel prices across the country. They want the Centre to scrap the contentious E-way law, or at least remove some of its provisions.

‘Stir to continue if GST issue unresolved’

"As there was a bandh called over the petrol and diesel price hike just three to four days ago, there was flexibility for the traders in Madhya Pradesh regarding the bandh. It was a 12-hour Bharat bandh from 8.00 am till 8.00 pm, but, in Madhya Pradesh, shops started opening after 2.00 pm. The bandh, supported by traders over GST complications was total in all districts of the state. If the GST issue isn’t resolved, the agitation will continue," said Bhupendra Jain, state president, CAIT.

‘Total bandh in state capital’

"It was total bandh in the state capital over the GST issue. Business establishments of various market, such as Jumerati, Hanumanganj, Godda Nakkas and others, remained closed," remarked Anupuam Agrawal, general secretary, Thoke Bazar Traders’ Association.

‘Petrol pumps not under GST purview'

"As petrol and diesel don’t come under the purview of GST, we didn’t join the Bharat bandh; so, petrol pumps were open. However, we supported the Bharat bandh," Ajay Singh, Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association, said.

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