TN traders shut shops to protest GST on rice

“But the announcement of a new tax levy on unbranded packaged rice by the Centre seems to flout its own FSSA rules and regulations,” said Kishore, adding that as many as 130 rice mills have downed shutters in the district in protest.
A rice mill on Mahalipatti road in Madurai is seen shut in protest on Saturday. A total of 130 mills joined the protest in the district.
A rice mill on Mahalipatti road in Madurai is seen shut in protest on Saturday. A total of 130 mills joined the protest in the district.

MADURAI/CHENNAI/ARANI: The new GST levied for the first time on unbranded packaged rice came as a blow to rice mill owners and traders. P Kishore, president of Madurai District Rice Mill Owners Association, said on Saturday, that the five per cent GST will weigh down on the consumers as well. Condemning the imposing of GST, the shutters of rice mills and shops selling the essential commodity at wholesale and retail prices downed on Saturday across State as a token strike called by the All India Rice Mill Owners Federation.

P Kishore, president of Madurai District Rice Mill Owners Association, said on Saturday, that the five per cent GST will weigh down on the consumers as well.

Condemning the imposing of GST, the shutters of rice mills and shops selling the essential commodity at wholesale and retail prices are downed on Saturday as a token strike called by the All India Rice Mill Owners Federation.

The rice milling industry, which was once an unorganised sector, moved into organised sector complying with regulations of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA) under Packaging and Labelling Regulations, which insist on date of manufacture, packaging, quantity and measurement, ingredients and shelf life of any consumer commodity.

“But the announcement of a new tax levy on unbranded packaged rice by the Centre seems to flout its own FSSA rules and regulations,” said Kishore, adding that as many as 130 rice mills have downed shutters in the district in protest.

According to R Rajendran, president of Madurai District Wholesale Rice Merchants Association, the tax burden would certainly affect consumers at large and small traders also.

CPM condemns Centre

CPM state secretary K Balakrishnan on Saturday condemned the union government for introducing GST on rice and wheat affecting the ordinary people.

“The government has recently announced that the GST of 5 per cent will be collected on packaged rice and wheat. Such a move will affect the poor and ordinary people the most,” he said in a statement.

“The price of rice, wheat and food grains will increase by Rs 3 to Rs 5 per kg. People who are already affected by the inflation and price rise of essential items will be impacted further, ” he added.

“Over 4000 rice mills in the state have remained closed on Saturday in protest.

Not only Tamil Nadu, people in other states like Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh also protesting the GST,” he mentioned.

T’malai hullers shut shop

Meanwhile, nearly 250 paddy hulling units in both Arani and Kalambur towns in Tiruvannamalai district downed shutters condemning the Centre fixing 5 per cent GST on rice, dal and wheat, on Saturday.

Stating that rice prices could go north due to the central government’s move, paddy hulling units numbering 250 in both Arani and Kalambur towns downed shutters on Saturday.

With nearly 300 tonnes rice being moved to various parts of the state daily, the one day closure also affected the lives of those indirectly involved in the trade including those selling gunny bags, those removing chaff and mini lorries which transported small quantities to and from the hulling units.

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