Daylong shutdown in Orissa against entry of ‘retail giants’

November 14th, 2007 - 10:15 am ICT by admin  
Small traders fear that the big business houses would rob them of their livelihood.

Markets and streets across the city remained relatively deserted as traders’ closed their shop as a mark of protest.

Over 4000 traders carrying placards and shouting slogans gathered to participate in a peaceful rally.

“If big companies like Reliance come here then what will happen to small businessmen like us,” said B. K. Mohanty, President of Rajdhani Market Association.

“There are around one million small businessmen involved in this sector. And if we find our livelihood in danger we will protest till these companies take their shops away from here,” he added.

India had opened up the retail sector to foreign multi-brand retailers restricted to cash-and-carry and franchise operations.

Several big corporates have forayed into the sector, which is estimated at 350 billion dollars, and is intensely fragmented. Of this, organized retail accounts for just 8 billion dollars, but is growing at 30 per cent annually, analysts say.

Reliance Retail Ltd., a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is investing 5.6 billion dollars in hundreds of stores, and in Bhubaneshwar itself the company plans opening at least three outlets.

“The company has bought land to do farming after that they will sell their product in the market at a much cheaper price thereby affecting the business of the local traders and later they will increase the prices to exorbitant rates and make it even more difficult for residents and for the local traders to compete,” said Pratap Sahu, President of the All Orissa Roadside Vendors and Small Shops Association.

Since launching its retail operations last year, Reliance has more than 90 fresh vegetable and food stores. It expects to start opening hypermarkets in the next few months. (ANI)

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