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Plywood manufacturers to shut down units from July 14 over GST

All India Plywood Manufacturing Association has declared that all plywood units in Yamunanagar and Jagadhri would go on indefinite strike from July 14 on account of imposition of goods and service tax (GST) on the wood industry. Their main grouse is imposition of 28% GST on plywood, 18% GST on poplar and eucalyptus wood and continuation of 2% market fees by Haryana government on their products. They said earlier VAT was just 4.2% on poplar and eucalyptus wood but GST Council had made it at par with costly teak wood, which has 18% GST. Giving details about the protest, Devender Chawla, president of All India Plywood Manufacturing Association, told that there were 3,300 small-scale industrial (SSI) units in India engaged in plywood manufacture. "Each unit was availing Rs 1.50 crore excise duty exemption. In Yamunanagar, 360 plywood units were having Rs 1,143 crore turnover and had paid Rs 117 crore as excise duty and VAT in the financial year 2016-17," he said. Chawla further stated that after paying 28% GST, plywood SSI industry would not survive as their cost had increased by 24% and they could not compete with the bigger firms. "Lakhs of workers engaged in plywood unit would also be out of job. We have met finance minister Arun Jaitely and other central ministers, including Santosh Gangwar, Arjun Meghwal and Kalraj Mishra, but our request for 18% GST on all items could not materialize. Further, the burden of 2% market fee has also been imposed by Haryana government on poplar and eucalyptus treating it as agriculture produce, making things worse for the industry," he said. He said there was zero market fees in Punjab and the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government had promised to review it. He also informed that since July 1—after the imposition of GST—they were unable to sell their products and were left with no other option but to close down their units from July 14.

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