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GST: Sweet shop owners go on hunger-strike

Kolkata: Sweet shop owners on Friday started their relay hunger-strike that will continue till Sunday protesting against the decision to make Goods and Services Tax (GST) applicable on sweets.
The sweet shop owners are on hunger-strike at Rani Rashmani Avenue. Sovan Chatterjee, South 24 Parganas district president of Trinamool Congress, went to the dais where the sweet shop owners are observing the hunger-strike. He lashed out at the Centre for introducing GST hastily without giving necessary time to traders to prepare for the new tax regime.
It may be mentioned that there are more than 2 lakh sweet shops in Bengal and they had gone for a 24-hour bandh on Monday on the same issue.
Rabindra Kumar Paul, general secretary of the West Bengal Sweetmeat Confectioners' Association, said: "Both the 24-hour bandh and
hunger-strike was declared earlier and we also wrote to the Centre about the protest. But the Centre didn't give any reply to their letter."
He said that they would make their agitation stringent if the Centre didn't take any positive steps in this regard. "We will be holding a meeting after Sunday and will decide the further course of action," he said. Pal said that this is the first time ever when tax has been imposed on sweets.
On Friday, the sweet shop owners started their
hunger-strike from 10 am onwards. Hundreds of sweet shop owners from different parts of the state came to Rani Rashmoni Avenue on Friday and more will be visiting the place from Saturday onwards.
Application of GST on sweets is leading to a difficult situation for sweet shop owners and it would be problematic for them to continue with their business if GST is not lifted from sweets.
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