Diamond workers demand waiver of professional tax

Surat: A team of diamond artisans held an unofficial meeting with the Surat Municipal Corporation requesting a waiver of professional tax, as it has been a crunch financial year for them and hundreds of units have been shut.

This follows a recent meeting in which Surat Diamond Workers’ Association president Jaysukh Gajera and 15 diamond factory owners from Surat met with Deputy CM Nitin Patel, and requested a waiver on professional tax.

Typically, the SMC collects professional tax from diamond factory owners. According to the association, there are more than 6 lakh diamond polishers working in different small, medium and big diamond factories in Surat.

Owners of diamond-working units pay the tax to SMC and deduct it from the salary of workers. In a memorandum submitted to Patel, Gajera said professional tax was a burden on diamond workers, who earn monthly salaries of just Rs 15,000- Rs 20,000 for laborious tasks. It was demanded professional tax on diamond workers be abolished the same way it was done for construction labourers. Owners suffer a great loss this way, the memorandum also said.

“The deputy CM has promised that he would take up the issue with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. We plan to make representations to the CM with the help of local BJP MLAs,” Gajera told the press.