GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - The All Guwahati Traders Association has decided to take to the path of agitation as the State government has not yet responded to its appeal to withdraw the hike in yearly labour licence fee for shops and business establishments, pointing out that the revised rates would severely affect the traders across the State.
The association said most of the traders are not in a position to pay the revised fee which has been enhanced by ten times the existing fee. �The government should immediately withdraw the hike in the interest of the small and middle-rung traders,� said Prantosh Roy, general secretary of the association. He added that business would be severely affected by such an arbitrary hike.
The labour licence is compulsory for traders. Before the State Assembly elections the Congress government had proposed an increase in the labour licence renewal fees by 10 times the existing fees. The association regretted that the present government, without taking into consideration the grievances and aspirations of the traders, approved the proposal.
The association pointed out that such a step of the government would affect business of around 5 lakh traders in the State. It has called a protest meeting on January 18 at the Lakhidhar Bora Khetra here from 11 am to discuss the issue.
�As per the norms we have to pay fee against labour engaged by the traders. But we have not got any help and co-operation from the labour department over the last 40 years. We have not been offered any social security by the government. Schemes like medical benefits, accident benefits, pension benefits and all other benefits to which we are entitled as per the law, are yet to come our way,� said Roy, adding that no development activities have been taken up by the labour department for the benefit of the traders.