Bharat Bandh: Traders, Transporters To Strike Against Rising Fuel Prices, GST And E-Way Bill Changes
A truck transporting a shipping container drives through the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, operated by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), in Navi Mumbai. (Photographer Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Bharat Bandh: Traders, Transporters To Strike Against Rising Fuel Prices, GST And E-Way Bill Changes

Traders and transporters have called for a nationwide strike, or chakka jam, on Friday to protest against rising fuel prices and new a rule impacting e-way bills. They are also seeking a review of the goods and services tax system.

"All commercial markets across the country will remain closed and protest dharnas will be organised in different cities of all states," CAIT General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal said, adding that nearly 40,000 trader associations have responded to the call for ‘Bharat Bandh.’

The protest by the Confederation of All India Traders is also being joined by All India Transporters Welfare Association, an apex body of India’s road transport sector. The one-day bandh or shut down comes as both AITWA and CAIT are demanding a cut in heavy taxes on fuel amid rising crude prices, uniformity in diesel prices across India and a review of GST.

More details on the Bandh-

  • About 30-40 Lakh transporters will remain off the road between 6 am to 8 pm
  • All commercial markets across the country to remain shut
  • Transporters and traders have planned to stage sit-ins and road blockades at 1,500 locations across the country.
  • Booking of goods is also likely to be affected due to the protests.

All state level-transport associations including Bombay Goods Transport Association, Baroda Goods Transport Association, and others have confirmed their support to AITWA for the one-day strike.

Also read: Petrol Crosses Rs 100 A Litre—More Than Half Of What You Pay Is Taxes

At the core of the transporters’ protest lies a recent change in e-way bill validity. An e-way bill is a document that transporters need when moving goods intra- or inter-state. The recent amendment has narrowed the validity of an e-way bill by increasing the distance from 100 km per day to 200 km per day.

Rising fuel prices have further made operations unviable is their complaint and they are seeking a reduction in the central and state taxes that account for about 55-60% of what consumers pay at the pump.

Mahendra Arya, national president of AITWA, said transporters will reject booking orders for a day and stop movement of all goods transported using e-way bills. Transport warehouses will display protest banners. “We also request customers not to book or load goods on bandh day,” he said.

Meanwhile, traders are protesting against GST, its multiple tax slabs and filing complexities. CAIT's Khandelwal said they want simplification of GST, to enable easier compliance for small traders operating from remote areas.

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