Bhubaneswar: Hours before traders stopped import of food items including pulses from other states demanding withdrawal of VAT on food items, the Odisha government on Thursday decided to procure commodities through national e-marketing.
"To tackle the situation, we have decided to begin talks with National e-Marketing Limited for procurement of pulses. We hope it will yield the desired result," Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma told reporters here after holding a meeting with top officials at the state Secretariat.
The minister said a Task Force had been formed to review the situation the market situation on a daily basis.
Appealing the traders to withdraw their agitation till the next round of discussion after the ongoing budget session of the Assembly, Dasburma said, "We don't want to see consumers in trouble. The Task Force will hold discussion with district collectors on a daily basis."
The issue was raised in the state Assembly earlier in the day and the opposition Congress MLAs stalled the proceedings demanding reply from the government on traders' strike over VAT on food items.
The members of the Federation of All Odisha Traders' Association (FAOTA) have been demanding withdrawal of five per cent VAT on wheat, pulses, wheat products and other food items.
Rejecting the state government's request to wait till the next round of talks, the traders has announced not to import essential food grains to Odisha from April 1.
They said though 25 of the 29 states don't charge VAT on food items, it was the Odisha government, which had been collecting extra money through VAT on food items.