- Almost 40,000 trade associations, representing the country’s eight crore traders, extended their support in response to CAIT’s call for the bandh
- 40 lakh trucks will stay off the road on Friday as a transporter body has backed the strike on the issue of fuel price rise, E-way bill rules
- The band will also join not only by traders and transporters, but also small industries, hawkers, and women entrepreneurs, among others
On 26 February, Bharat Bandh have been called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) calling for a review of GST system, which traders say is “complicated,” “regressive,” and “draconian.” An approximate 40,000 traders’ associations across the country have extended their support, says the traders’ body.
With the All-India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), an apex body representing road carriers in India, agreeing to join the protest, lakhs of trucks are also expected to remain off roads. AITWA is asking that the E-Way bill be replaced with an e-invoice and that diesel prices be reduced immediately.
The national president of the All-India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), Mahendra Arya, said all transport companies were asked to park their vehicles as a symbolic protest on Friday. He also added, “All transport godowns will display protest banners. Transport companies will be approaching all the customers not to book or load any goods on Friday.”
So far, truckers in Maharashtra and Haryana have agreed to join the bandh and support the call.
Suresh Khosla, Secretary of the Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA), said: “The BGTA has appealed to the government on various issues relating to the transport industry, in particular on issues relating to the non-practicable GST E-Way bill and the unviable diesel pricing policy.” Our office bearers have also frequently visited government officials to explain their problems; however, there has never been a resolution or respite.
All India FMCG Distributors Association, All India Women Entrepreneurs Association, Northern India Spices Traders Association, All India Cosmetic Manufacturers Association, Federation of Aluminium Utensils Manufacturers Association, and All India Computer Dealers Associations are some of the other prominent organisations taking part in the bandh.
In the December Bharat bandh call given by farmers protesting against the three farm laws of the Centre, the CAIT and AITWA did not participate. CAIT and AITWA said in a joint statement that no farmers group had approached them to join the band. Farmers are an important part of the national economy, such as traders and transporters, and thus urgent measures are required to solve their problems, the statement reads.
In Punjab and Haryana, where roads were blocked and markets remained closed, the Bandh call saw maximum response. In states such as Odisha, Maharashtra and Bihar, the shutdown, supported by most opposition parties and trade unions, has also had some impact.