Traders firm on stand as strike enters Day 9

ThursdayProtesting traders face off with the police during a ‘jail bharo’ agitation, at Shagun Chowk in Pimpri, on Thursday.

LBT Special committee to discuss situation with traders today; MNS to open shops to sell essential commodities.

The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) has issued notices to nearly 100 wholesalers in market yard for being part of the traders' strike that entered its ninth day on Thursday. With the traders firm on their decision to continue with the strike, many political parties have now started parleys with them to resolve the issue.

Following the directions of District Collector Vikas Deshmukh on Wednesday, the APMC issued notices to the traders. Ajit Sethiya, president of the Pune Merchants' Chambers, said they had replied to the notices, saying they were only following the law by not opening shops because they were not allowed to do business, having not registered themselves under LBT. "In our reply, we have also asked the APMC to clarify as to who should the traders charge the LBT from as the present notification was not clear on this," he added.

As per discussions with the Chief Secretary J Banthiya, Sethiya said, a special committee would meet the traders on Friday and discuss their concerns. "I got the intimation late on Wednesday evening about my inclusion in the committee and we will again be discussing the matter," he said. The committee is supposed to present its findings before Banthiya in the next two days.

On ninth day of the strike, the city unit of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) distributed pamphlets asking the traders to resume business as their protest was affecting the common man. Ranjit Shirole, general secretary of the Pune unit of MNS, said they had started dialogue with the traders at a personal level. "We do understand the traders' contention, but their strike is now affecting the common man, which we would like to oppose," he said. Shirole said the party was in the process of finalising plans to open shops in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to sell essential commodities. "Our party workers would be operating these shops to help the citizens," he said.

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