A number of markets in the national Capital will remain shut on Thursday in support of the nationwide bandh called by some traders' bodies, to protest against the government's decision to allow FDI in retail sector.
Burning issue: Leaders and workers of BJP shout slogans and burn
effigies during thier protest against FDI in retail outside Vidhansabha
According to Confederation of All India Traders' (CAIT) Delhi unit president Narender Madan, a large number of traders will participate in the all-India bandh. He said wholesale and retail markets in Walled City, Sadar Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Chawri Bazar, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Khan Market, Kashmere Gate, Tilak Nagar, Rohini, Krishna Nagar, among others, will remain closed.
Near Red Fort in the Capital on Wednesday. Pics/Subhash Barolia
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said over 10,000 trade organisations across the country are expected to participate in the Bharat Vyapar Bandh. He said the decision on FDI will create an uneven playing field in the country, which will tilt towards MNCs and prove to be a nightmare for traders as well as consumers in the long run.
"The government should withdraw its decision on FDI in retail," he said. India retail sector was being run successfully by indigenous capital at the rate of 15 per cent and contributing nearly 10 per cent to the GDP. Therefore, no FDI is required.
"The foreign retailers can open in big cities, but they will source from mandis across rural India and small towns. With their money and power, over time they can corner the supply of produce and dominate the outsourced side," he said.
Delhi CM speaks for FDI
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday justified the union cabinet's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail sector, saying it will help stakeholders like farmers and consumers, besides helping contain inflation. "We welcome the decision of the union cabinet. It will help both farmers and consumers besides bringing new technology. Opening up of retail stores (by MNCs) will also ensure uniform prices for various agricultural produces," she said, adding vegetables prices vary from areas-to-areas across the city. "If we can prevent the perishable items from rotting, then it will also reflect on the prices. The price will definitely come down," she said, adding, "no small trader has been affected because of opening of the malls."
BJP reiterates full support
The BJP on Wednesday extended its support to the all-India strike called by trade unions and other organisations against FDI in multi-brand retail and appealed to the people to join the shutdown. "BJP reiterates its whole hearted support to this expression of popular unrest on this issue. The government at the Centre has shown utter disregard to the concerns expressed by small traders, farmers and consumers at large, who would be facing the adverse impact of this decision," party president Nitin Gadkari said in a statement. The principal opposition, along with Left and other parties, has opposed the government's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail.