‘Left in the lurch’ by BJP, traders turn to Shiv Sena

Badly affected by demonetisation, state trade associations had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking concessions in I-T slabs and reduction in VAT.

“Since there has been no response from the Centre and state government, we decided to approach alliance partners, to raise our demands with the government,” said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association. Representatives of retail traders from Mumbai, Thane, hotel and restaurant owners and transporters submitted a memorandum to Thackeray on Sunday. Shah said business had been down more than 50% ever since demonetisation. “It is a terrible situation for consumers and traders. Everyone’s coming with Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, which we are refusing. We have no change for new Rs2,000 notes. There is no currency in circulation,” he said.

Narayan Alva, advisor, Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners, said the hospitality business in Mumbai and Thane was down nearly 45%.

“There is a terrible currency squeeze. Customers run up bills of Rs200 and give us Rs2,000. We cannot give change as we have none. It has been leading to regular fights,” he said. But AHAR president Adarsh Shetty said Alva was not representing the association. Niranjan Shetty, member, AHAR, said they will approach the municipal commissioner to accept Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes for licence renewal. Bal Malkit Singh, ex-president and advisor, All-India Motor Transport Congress, said 70% vehicles were off the roads since November 10.



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