By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Jan 3: Traders in Guwahati are a worried lot for, what they say, the recent ten-fold hike in fees which they have to pay to the Labour and Employment Department annually. They say that the steep hike in fees is beyond justification when the government has not been providing them any kind of safety for around forty years.
Talking to newsmen in the city today, the Sadou Guwahati Byobosayi Santha (SGBS) chief convener Prantosh Roy said: “The State Labour and Employment Department has hiked the annual fees of traders of Guwahati as many as ten folds, and that too, without taking us into confidence. Through a notification issued on February 2 and September 14, 2016 the department has hiked the fees steeply. It’s impossible for the around 52,000 small and medium traders doing business in Guwahati to pay fees at the hiked rate.”
Roy said: “According to the relevant Act, every trader has to pay an annual fee to the Labour and Employment Department. However, for over 40 years the department has not been providing us any safety – be it in healthcare or in emergency situation. We did move Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal, the State Labour and Employment Minister, the State Labour Commissioner and the Kamrup(M) Deputy Commissioner with memoranda requesting them to rollback the hike, on December 5 and 20, 2016. They did assure us of responding to our plea after 15 days. Twenty-five days have already elapsed, but there is no response from Dispur as yet. We appealed to the government afresh to sympathetically look into our demand and let us know of the decision soon. Failing which, we will be compelled to call a protest meeting at Lakhidhar Bora Khetra in the city on January 18 at 11 am.”