Textile traders in Orissa yesterday closed their outlets protesting the State Government’s imposition of value added tax (VAT) on textile products.

The All Orissa Textile Merchants’ Association (AOTMA) said it has decided to keep shops closed today as well and stage rallies in different districts.

While the neighbouring States such as West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have not imposed VAT on textile products, Orissa is the lone State where such tax is collected on clothes, the association said.

“Why will consumers purchase textile products from here when the same material is available at a cheaper price in the nearby towns of neighbouring States?” AOTMA President Mr R. N. Mohapatra questioned.

The price of clothes in the State will be hiked by 6 per cent compared to other States as the State Government has decided to collect entry tax at 2 per cent and VAT at 4 per cent, he said. The VAT would be imposed from April 8, he added.

Mr Mohapatra said Rajasthan and Jharkhand, which imposed VAT on textiles earlier, have withdrawn it after the merchants protested.

“We have already submitted the documents and notifications of the other States to the Government officials and demand that the Government’s decision on imposition of VAT be reconsidered,” he said.

The traders were forced to go on strike as the Government did not consider the demands of the association, he said.

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