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Surat’s textile traders protest against GST in a mass rally

A massive rally was taken out by textile traders on Saturday afternoon to protest the GST on Man Made Fibre (MMF) and submitted a memorandum to the district collector. The rally took a three-kilometre circular route around the textile market after the police refused permission to the original seven km rally to the Collectorate keeping in mind the threat to law and order.

Seeing the immense support from the textile traders from all sectors, the police department had granted rally permission with a condition that it should be taken out in the limit of textile trading markets.

No women, however, joined the rally which took two hours to cover the stretch. Earlier the GST Sangharsh Samiti had announced women engaged in saree embellishing work would also join.

The agitation of Surat Textile Traders which started from June 15, in Surat against GST was to hold this rally on Thursday but postponed it to Saturday. On Friday the GST Sangharsh Samiti members met union minister of state for road transport and highway Mansukh Mandaviya who assured them that he would take their questions to the GST Council. He, however, ruled out exempting of the GST of 5 per cent from MMF.

Mandaviya had requested them to call off the rally, but the agitating body had said it would continue till their issues were addressed.

The rally covered each and route which leads to each textile markets on Ring road and finally culminated from where it started. Entire rally was peaceful, not a single untoward incident had taken place in Textile market areas on Ring Road in Surat.

With such large number of textile traders gathered on Ring Road, Surat police had diverted the traffic to other routes. Surat police had deployed videographers at different locations to get a view of each and every person so that those who wanted to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere could be caught and dealt strictly.

After the rally completed, the delegations of textile traders went to Surat district collector office and handed him the memorandum demanding that no GST be levied on the textile trading segment.

Talking to the Indian Express Gaurav Shrimali, a textile trader and secretary of Youth Brigade wing, said, “The Government might have understood the unity of textile trader seeing the participation of a large number of people in the rally. This is our unity and we don’t want GST. We worked hard for last five days, as since last few days, we use to organise different program in the market area to continue the agitations. We have made different WhatsApp groups, wherein all the textile traders are covered and we have told them to come and participate in the rally. All the textile traders are registered with the presidents of different textile markets, so it was easy for us to cover such large number of people. We have collected data lists containing mobile numbers of traders, from the president of 165 textile markets.”

Surat GST Sangharsh Samithi president Tarachand Kasat said, “The success credit goes to the youth brigade wing people of textile traders. The indefinite strike called by textile traders will continue in coming days till our demands are meted out. The textile traders of Delhi and other parts of the country have also supported Surat traders and they have also kept their shops closed. We have made representations to the district collector and hope that Central Government would come out with some possible solution or else in coming days we will also give some shocking programs in a peaceful way.

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