Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, Feb 23 : Traders of Kerala and Delhi staged protest on Saturday against the entry of retail giants ahead of the annual general budget.
Retailers in Thiruvananthapuram called for a 12-hour shutdown in the entire city wherein all the shops in the markets barring medical shops and hotels remained closed.
The Kerala Vyapari Vyvasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) and the Kerala State Vyapari Vyvasayi Samithi (KSVVS) the two strong organisations of the state staged the demonstration.
"Now we have thought of approaching the Union Government since the state administration has not heeded our request. Why should corporate entities enter into our retail-trading sector that we have been efficiently managing? Until our demands not to let such big players snatch our livelihood are met, we will carry on our crusade against the entry of Reliance and others," said Panangottukonam Vijayan, Secretary, Kerala State Vyapari Vyvasai Samithi.
The protesters walked to the government secretariat holding banners and shouting slogans against the entry of big retail giants.
Traders indicated that 25 per cent of traders in the state are incurring losses because of retail giants.
According to reports, nearly 80 shutdowns of various types have taken place in the state in the past 18 months, with an estimated loss of about seven billion rupees for each statewide shutdown.
Meanwhile, members of the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal staged demonstration shouting slogans and burning effigies of retail giants in the national capital New Delhi.
Protesters raised slogans against the backdoor entry of U.S retailing giant Wal Mart that has joined hands with Bharti Industries to establish a joint venture in the cash-and-carry business in the fragmented 300 billion dollars Indian retail industry.
"The local trader is stressed out since his business is going down. The entire business is being taken over by big retail giants. Crores of people are suffering due to this. Posterity will bring darkness in future for traders, businessman and exporters. This is not right," said Prem Arora, President, Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (Indian Industry Trade Association).
Protesters said that demonstrations will be held across the country and a major protest will take place on April 23, wherein people will come together and put their demands before the government.