Government forgets tax, penalty exemption promise; traders aghast

ANANTNAG: Four months on, the state government is yet to issue an official order granting the promised exemption to flood-hit traders in this south Kashmir district from paying interest and penalty on seized goods.
According to All Traders Association Anantnag (ATAA), the traders’ representative body, said the Finance minister Haseeb Drabu had, in his budget speech, announced onetime exemption to traders from payment of interest and penalty on seized goods.
“Even as four months have passed since the announcement was made in the House, the government is yet to fulfill its promise,” General Secretary of ATAA, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, told Kashmir Reader on Friday.
“The government should keep its promise and issue a formal circular in this regard,” he said.
The traders, Bhat said, have only few days left to pay taxes, with the further delay in issuing the instructions likely to inflict losses.
“We are supposed to clear our taxes by the end of this month. If government really means what it has promised, it should come up with a clear circular on amnesty of penalty,” he said.
The AATA’s President, Mohammad Shafi Wani, said the government should also come clear on whether or not the tax due on the damaged stock would be waived off.
He said the government, soon after the floods, announced that tax due on the stocks damaged during the floods will be waived off.
“The concerned officials of the sales tax department were also asked to carry out a survey and check how much stock of the traders has been damaged. We were also asked to file a declaration form in this regard,” Wani said, adding “the government is yet to come up with the black and white paper in this regard” despite the traders having completed all the formalities.
“The time has come for the government to fulfill its promises made to flood-hit traders. We are in a state of confusion as the government is maintaining silence on all these issues,” Wani said.