GUWAHATI, Dec 15 - Demanding of the State government to waive the yearly labour registration fee that has been increased tenfold, the All Assam Traders� Association and All Guwahati Traders� Association today threatened to launch a series of protests across the State if their demand is not met soon.
�A gazette notification had been issued in 2016 stating that the labour registration fee that is paid annually by the traders had been increased. We even submitted several memorandums to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other officials of the government in the last three years in this regard, but have not received any response yet,� said Prantosh Roy, convenor of the All Assam Traders� Association and general secretary of the All Guwahati Traders� Association.
Earlier, traders were charged anything between Rs 100 and Rs 300 as labour registration fee every year. Now a trader who used to pay Rs 100 is being charged Rs 1,000 and one who paid Rs 150 is now paying Rs 1,500.
The All Assam Traders� Association has over five lakh members across the State. There are about 65,000 traders in the city.
�Chief Minister Sonowal had assured us on several occasions that he would take an initiative in this regard, but not a single step has been taken over the years. There are so many petty traders in the State. It is not possible for them to pay such a huge fee, more so in the COVID-19-induced situation. This is unacceptable and we want the State government to waive this fee to bail out the traders,� Roy added.
Roy further said that the labour registration fee is higher in Assam in comparison to several other states of the country. �If the State government does not respond to our demand, we will intensify our agitation,� he said.
The trader bodies have also been demanding of the State government to provide social security, health scheme or pension scheme for traders of the State.