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Kerala warns of stern action against traders charging above MRP

Saturday, Jul 8, 2017,10:19 IST By joji A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala government Friday warned of stern action, including registration of cases against traders who hike prices of commodities more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) after the launch of GST.
State-wide raids would be carried out to check the unhealthy practice among traders and facilitation committees would be set up in all districts to monitor and redress the complaints, Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said here.
He also asked the Centre to take immediate steps to implement the Anti-profiteering clause under the GST law to stop the tendency of traders increasing price of commodities.
“As per an estimate, about Rs 1 lakh crore tax reduction on various commodities are expected with the launch of GST.
Normally, this reduction amount has to be passed on to consumers,” he told reporters.
“But, the present concern is that whether that will happen or the trade and business will make undue profit out of this,” he said.
He said the government would not let off anyone, including hoteliers and theatre owners, to make undue profit in the name of GST.
The minister’s statement assumes significance as complaints have been pouring in from different quarters that hotels and restaurants have hiked prices of various food products.
“Nobody will be allowed to sell any commodity at more than MRP rate in the state. Cases will be registered against the traders who do so,” he said.
Detailing various steps taken by the state government to bring the post-GST price hike under control, he said state-run Civil Supplies Corporation has reduced prices of various commodities as per the new tax regime and published the new price of products.
Theatres under Kerala State Film Development Corporation have been asked to reduce the ticket prices which was increased with the launch of GST, he said.
Isaac said that strict directions have been given to poultry farmers and traders to reduce the price of chicken as it was exempted from GST.
Over 240 raids were carried out so far based on complaints of price hike post GST and 90 cases have been filed in this regard in the state, he said.
“Centre should intervene into the situation immediately to check price hike and stop attempts to make undue profit by traders. A meeting of various traders outfits should be convened and given strong directions in this regard,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala urged the Centre to freeze implementation of GST for six months as it had “created confusion among traders.”
He said implementation of the GST without taking adequate preparation has caused negative impact.

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