The Odisha government has decided to constitute a state-level purchase committee to procure pulses as the indefinite strike by the Federation of All Odisha Traders Association (FAOTA) continued for the fourth day on Sunday.
The FAOTA has stopped the import of pulses, wheat and wheat products from other states demanding waiver of five percent VAT levied since April 9.
The traders have demanded exemption of Value Added Tax (VAT) and imposition of one percent entry tax.
Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma said the state government will prepare an action plan for two months to meet the situation arising out of the ongoing strike.
He said that in the first phase the government would float tenders for procurement of 10,000 tonne of pulses which would be made available to people across the state through 20,000 Public Distribution System (PDS) outlets.
In order to keep a check on hoarding and black-marketing of pulses and wheat products, the minister said all district collectors have been directed to keep a tab on black marketers and hoarders, besides tightening of enforcement measures.
Despite appeals by state Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat and Dasburma to call off the strike as consumers were facing problems, the FAOTA decided on Sunday to continue their protest.
The FAOTA, however, said it was open to discussions with the state government over the issue.
“We have decided to continue the strike till there is no solution of the problem. We are open to discussions. The intention of the government is not clear,” said Sudhakar Panda, FAOTA general secretary.(IANS)