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UP farmers back Reliance stores

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Nearly 3,000 farmers joined hands on Sunday in Lucknow in a protest against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to close supermarkets.

Citing law-and-order problems, the state government had closed 10 new Reliance supermarkets following protests by small traders, who say that the new stores, part of plans to modernise the USD350 billion fragmented retail sector, would hurt millions of shopowners.

Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s biggest private company, put on hold the opening of hundreds of air-conditioned supermarkets across northern and eastern India.

Forming a human chain along the main thoroughfare of Lucknow, thousands of farmers shouted “We want the reopening of all retail stores!”

The farmers say the western-style supermarkets would enable them to make bigger profits by selling their produce to them. Small traders, on the other hand, argue that the big supermarkets will drive them out of business.

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