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Traders defer strike

Special Correspondent

MADURAI: The Joint Action Committee of Trade and Industry Associations of Tamil Nadu has deferred its decision to shut down shops and business establishments on March 29 in protest against the seizure of money from vehicles by election officials in an attempt to prevent bribing of voters.

In a statement, N. Jegatheesan, president, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the decision was taken at a meeting of the committee, in the light of assurance from officials that their representation would be considered. The traders were also confident that the Madras High Court would pass a suitable order in this issue.

The traders, who met the Chief Electoral Officer, Praveen Kumar, on March 22, explained that small traders, farmers and the public going for a wedding or to a hospital had to necessarily carry money without valid documents. The election officials, they said, should not insist on production of any document for carrying cash below Rs three lakh.

In the event of cash in excess of Rs three lakh being carried, bank receipt, ATM receipt, photocopy of the cheque, statement in office stationery or a self-declaration should be accepted. The traders felt that any effort to prevent bribing of voters should not be counter-productive.

The statement said that if small traders continued to be affected due to the restrictions on movement of cash, a decision to close shops and business establishments would be taken in a couple of days.

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