To protest the proposed ‘high GST rates’ on fertilisers and pesticides in the country, fertilisers and pesticide dealers in Punjab today kept their shops closed.

They also submitted memorandums addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through their respective Deputy Commissioners, demanding repeal of the decision in the interests of dealers and farmers alike.

The call for today's bandh was given by Seeds, Pesticides and Fertilisers Association, Punjab.

State president of the Association, Mohinder Pal Singh Khalsa, who led the protest in Nawanshahr said the Union government has “proposed high GST rate of 12 percent on fertilisers and 18 percent on insecticides. These are the items which were hitherto free from any taxes”.

He said that the step would result in making the state farmers spend nearly a sum of Rs 500 crore more annually, thus making farming a more unviable activity.

“As the state annually consumes nearly 7,050 lakh MT of DAP, 30 MT of urea and nearly 5,400 MT of insecticides and pesticides, increase in their costs could adversely affect crop yield,” Khalsa claimed.

Khalsa demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposed GST on these farm inputs in the interest of all-dealers, farmers and the common man.

Endorsing dealers’ demand of roll back of the proposed GST, Kirti Kisan Union state leader Surinder Singh Bains alleged that the Centre was gradually bringing in such a tax structure in the country that it would result in more taxes on the common man, including small shopkeepers, farmers and retailers.

Meanwhile, Khalsa claimed that the bandh call was successful in the state.

“Except for some small towns and villages, the bandh was complete in big districts like Ludhiana, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Sangrur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran,” he said.

He said that their association would launch a joint agitation along with farmers against the proposed GST in the coming days if the decision was not revoked soon.