Shops in Tamil Nadu closed to protest FDI in retail

December 1st, 2011 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 1 (IANS) The protest shutdown by traders and shopkeepers against permitting 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail was total in Tamil Nadu Thursday.

At some places in the state, traders and shopkeepers also held token fasts to highlight their opposition to the central government’s decision on FDI in retail sector.

Shops, including those selling vegetables as well as pharmacies, in major cities like the state capital, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli downed their shutters from 6 a.m to 6 p.m., claiming that they will be out of business once the multinational retail chains enter India.

“I did not get my morning newspaper,” said Revathi Vasan, a housewife residing in T.Nagar in Chennai.

“FDI in retail is a wrong economic decision by the central government. The response to the protest is one hundred percent. Even vegetable vendors downed their shutters,” T.Vellayan, president of Tamil Nadu Traders Associations’ Federation, told IANS.

He said the government’s decision to allow FDI-funded retail outlets would drive Indian shopowners out of business.

According to him, the foreign retail chains will first indulge in predatory pricing and once competition is wiped out, they would increase the prices.

However, the one-day strike did not affect normal life in the state with schools and colleges functioning as usual.

In Tamil Nadu, a majority of the political parties are opposed to FDI in retail sector.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has already announced that her government would not allow FDI-funded retail stores to open shop in Tamil Nadu.

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