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Hawkers prevented Spencer’s opening in Kolkata

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Shopkeepers and hawkers prevented RPG Enterprise vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka from inaugurating Spencer’s new mall in Kolkata. Yesterday, a large group of protesters gathered in front of the hypermarket and raised slogans, laying a virtual siege to the mall entrance.

Goenka came in time for the scheduled inauguration at noon, but left the place on seeing the protesters, who were affiliated to the Hawker Sangram Committee, a federation comprising representatives of established trade unions.

Shaktiman Ghosh, federation general secretary, said: “We will not let any local or international retailer enter our territory. This will hamper the livelihood of the hundreds of hawkers in this area.”

“We will not let any retailer establish a store within two km of any area where hawker density is high,” he added.

The federation demanded that the retailers not deal in any product sold by the hawkers, be it grocery, vegetables, fish, or milk.

“Now we will carry on this campaign everyday,” said Ghosh.

RPG, in a statement, claimed that Spencer’s did not pose any threat to traditional trade.

“We would like to emphasise that organised retail forms only about 3-4 per cent of the total food-and-grocery retail opportunity in India. This is not a threat to traditional trade,” the statement said.

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