BHUBANESWAR: Commodities traders have decided to go on with their decision of stopping import of pulses, wheat and wheat products from April 9.
While the move will have a serious impact on availability of essential food products in the State, the traders have alleged that the Government’s indifference has compelled them to take the drastic step.
“The Government is not paying heed to our demands for exemption of pulses, wheat and wheat products from value added tax (VAT) as has been done in most other States, despite giving assurances to sort the issue by March 15. As it is not bothered to even hold discussion with us on the issue, we have decided to stop all imports from the announced date,” general secretary of Odisha Byabasayee Mahasangha Sudhakar Panda said.
The traders have been demanding withdrawal of five per cent VAT on the commodities like 22 States in the country. With the products exempted from taxes in neighbouring States, trade in Odisha has been seriously affected. While this has led to gross illegalities in procurement and business of the commodities, the State is also suffering huge loss of revenue.
That revenue collection of the Government is mere `25-30 crore against the actual `226 crore is a pointer to the situation. If the Government replaces VAT with one per cent entry tax, the collections would go up to `50 crore and the market would gain stability, Panda said.
Odisha is wholly dependant on import for all the commodities as there is no production of pulses or wheat here. Domestic production of pulses is only around 50,000 tonne against requirement of 8.05 lakh tonne.