Traders protesting against local body tax (LBT) vowed to intensify their agitation after their plea for a stay was rejected by the Supreme Court on Friday.
The apex court rejected a PIL filed by Pune traders and directed the Bombay high court to adjudicate the matter within four months, thatis September. LBT is to be levied in Mumbai from October 1.
Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) president Mohan Gurnani said the bandh would continue, probably spilling over to the second week on Monday. Traders will run a kitchen for daily wage workers and pay salaries for the period of closure on humanitarian grounds.
Kirti Rana of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) expressed fear that other states would follow Maharashtra's lead and adopt the LBT model.
More than 10,000 trucks stayed off roads on Friday as transporters supported the protest. Essential goods were exempted from the protest that was called off late in the evening. Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA) general secretary J K Jain said, "We incurred losses of nearly Rs 2 crore during the shutdown. We will continue to support FAM even though we will ply our vehicles."
Drugstores that were shut on Friday will reopen on Saturday morning. "Around 4,500 people participated in a morcha to the FDA office and submitted a memorandum. We met minister of state Satej Patil, who promised to look into our problems," said J S Shinde, president, All-India Organization of Chemists & Druggists.
D eve l o p e r N i r a n j a n Hiranandani, president of the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC), joined voice with the "poor traders who were fighting for the cause of the common consumer". Hiranandani said, "The burden of this draconian tax will be passed on to the customer, who will have to pay more for basic essentials."
Under the shadow of local trade associations, even sectors not supporting the sitr were affected. Wine shops were shut ahead of the weekend in Thane, while jewellery showrooms in Bandra kept shop fronts closed.
APNA BAZAR'S FORT OUTLET
14.31 lakh (Turnover from May 1-7, 2012) 17.40 lakh (Turnover from May 1-7, 2013)
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The traders' association has promised to intensify the stir after the Supreme Court declined to stay LBT on Friday
Most kirana stores will be closed till further notice. However, malls and large retailers will remain open
Chemists will remain open after Friday's token strike
Jewellers in certain areas may stay shut on the weekend, to open only on Akshay Tritiya
SUPER FRIDAY Mumbaikars, hit hard by the ongoing traders' stir, flocked to supermarkets to stock up on essentials Another pic, P 6