Patna: Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Monday threatened the traders and businessmen would close down their business activities during the elections as they were being harassed by the police who claim even small amounts were related to elections.
The BCCI has written to the Election Commission (EC), chief electoral officer (CEO), Bihar, chief secretary and DGP pointing out difficulties facing traders and businessmen in the name of inspection and checking by the police. “They are being harassed in different ways,” chamber president P K Agrawal alleged.
He recalled on March 28, a small amount of Rs 50,000 was seized by the police at Patna junction. On the same date, Rs 1 lakh was also seized from a trader who was carrying the money to purchase goods from Kolkata. The money was not related to elections, still the traders were arrested and cash seized. Such incidents will affect the trade adversely and government revenue as well,” he said.
According to Agrawal, traders are afraid and may be forced to close down their business activities due to such action by the police. This will create scarcity of consumer products. At the time of elections, seizure of commercial vehicles for poll purposes adversely affects transportation of goods, creating a scarcity of commodities of daily use. Seizure of cash from businessmen will further compound the problem, he said. Traders need to carry money for smooth running of their trade. If all cases of carrying cash are linked with election and the sum seized, traders will suffer monetary loss too, he said.
The BCCI demanded clear cut guidelines for carrying cash by the public as well as businessmen for their personal and business use as the elections would continue for two months. During this period, rabi crop is harvested and sold by farmers and payment is made in cash only. These two months cover marriage season too and people have to carry cash for the necessary purchases. The EC and the state government should issue clear guidelines to the police on seizure of money during the elections, Agrawal demanded.