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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Sweet marts to down shutters

Cooch Behar, Sept. 3: Sweet shopowners in Dinhata subdivision in Cooch Behar will keep their shutters down for an indefinite period from tomorrow to protest against the Citu’s “pressure tactics”.

The Dinhata unit president of Paschim Banga Mistanna Babsayee Samiti, Mantu Talukder, said: “The Citu wants us to buy paneer at Rs 90 a kg. This is an absurd demand. We have to abandon our business if we have to pay such a high price.” According to Talukder the price of paneer varies between Rs 70 and Rs 72 per kg in the district.

Talukder alleged that the Citu had stopped supplying paneer and milk to a big sweetmeat shop in town for the past three days. “We are not going to withdraw our strike till the Citu restores supply line to that shop,” he said while wondering how the Citu could form a union when the milk and paneer suppliers do not fall in the labourers category.

Owner of another shop Surendra Kumar Rathi also questioned the Citu’s role. “The Citu is out to destroy this trade by resorting to pressure tactics. Under no circumstances, will we consider the suppliers as labourers.”

According to the secretary of the Citu-affiliated Dugdha Sarbarahokari Shramik Union, Shyamal Ghosh, the shopowners were told repeatedly to settle the price of milk through negotiations. But they had ignored the suggestions.

Rathi said Dinhata shopowners need 5,000 litre of milk a day. With Pujas knocking at the door, the demand will rise further. The strike, he said, would not only affect the shopowners but the milk suppliers as well.

The Citu had created similar trouble before the Bengali New Year’s Day when the shopowners had to bring sweets from outside, he added.

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