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Traders’ plea to lift entry tax

Calcutta, Feb. 15: An association of small and medium traders urged the Bengal government today to do away with the entry tax, two days before finance minister Amit Mitra tables the state budget.

The tax was introduced by the government through an act in March 2012. The state government earns an additional amount of around Rs 1,400 crore every year through the entry tax.

The chairman of the Federation of West Bengal Trade Association, Mahesh Singhania, said: “We request the state government to reconsider the entry tax as it has left us in real trouble.”

No one from the finance department was available for comment.

A single-judge bench of Calcutta High Court had struck down the West Bengal Entry of Goods into Local Areas Act, 2012, on June 24 last year after several companies moved court.

The government moved a division bench, which is hearing the case.

At a meeting with business chambers earlier this month, finance minister Amit Mitra had appeared to defend the tax.

“While others take 2-4 per cent, our rate is 1 per cent,” Mitra was quoted as saying by one of the delegates.