SHILLONG: National People’s Party (NPP) Supremo Conrad Sangma asked the Centre to exempt natural grass broom from Goods & Services Tax (GST) to prevent the broom industry in the north eastern region from suffering an irreversible loss.
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Mr Sangma also sought the intervention of the NDA led the central government on the need to do away with classification for branded or unbranded broomsticks, an outcome of the alleged campaign by plastic lobby.
“I sincerely urge the government to consider our appeal to exempt natural grass broom from GST by putting the same in Exempt Schedule with “0” per cent GST.””We also request to do away with classification for branded or unbranded brooms/broomsticks manufactured by phul-jharu (Phool Jhaadoo) or natural twigs or bamboo sticks,” the Lok Sabha member said.
Broom grass grows abundantly in the north-east, particularly in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
He said the success of Northeast’s natural broom grass industry has created interest in multinationals and plastic article manufacturers.
To grab the market so created by the hard effort of farmers and traders of NE over 20 years, these plastic industry lobby started an “unethical campaign” two years back by introducing a plastic broom claiming “no dust broom”, he alleged.
Mr Sangma further stated that with the introduction of GST, once again the plastic lobby actively campaigning to restrict the advantage of phul-jharu (Phool Jhaadoo) or the broom made from natural twigs with a deceit campaign.
The plastic lobby effort is to classify broomsticks as branded and unbranded. Trying to put the branded brooms in higher tax schedule of GST, he added.”Due to the deceit campaign, if the phul-jharu (Phool Jhaadoo) is split into classification as branded and unbranded then the entire NE broom industry will suffer an irreversible loss and lose their advantage over the plastic brooms,” Mr Sangma said.
He also further requested the Centre that in the interest of large population involved in broom grass cultivation and broom making and trading industry especially in Meghalaya, it should not be deprived of their livelihood with such move.
Featured image: Internet(file photo)