Footwear manufacturers take out car rally in protest

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 26

“Manpreet Badal Jawab do, hamara paisa vapis do”, “Punjab sarkar suno hamari hunkar, paisa vapis karo ek hi bar” these were the slogans raised by rubber footwear manufacturers during a car rally held to mark their protest.

Many of them held posters and some had pasted these on cars. They said the working capital was lying with the government and in the absence of money, how could they run their factories.

They also gave a memorandum to GST officials, addressed to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, and demanded release of GST/VAT refunds. President of the Rubber Footwear Manufacturers Association Neeraj Arora said the industrialists had brought problems of the rubber footwear industries pertaining to non-refund of the GST dues lying with the department concerned.

“Delay in refund by the state authorities is creating chaos in trade as our entire working capital is blocked. The industry is facing a shortage of working capital,” the memorandum reads.

“Now, the situation has arisen when we have to pay interest also while our money is lying pending with the government,” it further reads.

Members of the association said they had been meeting the authorities at the local level as well as state-level, including the state Finance Minister, on several occasions but to no avail.

“Your speedy intervention in the matter will be appreciated for initiating the refund process at the earliest,” it says.

State’s rubber industry is concentrated in Jalandhar and according to the association members, earlier there were over 300 rubber footwear units, which have now been reduced to around 100.

Arora said non-refund of VAT and GST dues have jeopardised the future of industrialists as they were facing a huge shortage of working capital. The major problem which has come with the GST for the manufacturers is the difference in the rate of the GST on various raw material and finished goods.

He said it had been over a year since the GST was implemented, but VAT refunds of the previous tax regime was still pending.

The GST on raw materials and chemicals is 18 per cent and on finished goods i.e. rubber footwear, it is only 5 per cent, due to this difference the industry is facing hardships.

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