Reliance, a corporate rogue which is built with deceit, forgery and all sorts of fraudulent acts at each and every step from its inception, has opened its chain of stores named ‘Reliance Fresh’ in Chennai. It has opened 14 stores covering major locations with expanding its tentacles every nook and corner of the city.
The wholesale grocery market at Koyambedu, a location at North Chennai which is delivering the groceries to Chennai and its surroundings has felt the instant tremors. Sales have fallen by 40% percent than before and the Number of small traders coming to Koyambedu for procurement has got reduced. Labourers dependent on the market have lost their income and jobs. As a whole, the lives of one lakh families dependent on Koyambedu Market are at stake.
Following Reliance, Tata and Birla also foray in to the Retail market with their chain of stores all over India. Moreover, American Wal-Mart, Metro from GermanyIndia. and Carrefour of France had announced their plans to open their retail outlets in the major cities of India.
India stands fourth in the Retail sales in the International level. The Indian reatil sector is estimated to be worth of 12 Lakh Crore per annum and the Chennai Market alone is of 20 Crore. It has been roughly estimated as more than 4 Crore people are engaged in Retail Sector. The MNC’s, TNC’s and the Vultures of Shining India are trying to swallow this entire market and to wipe out the ‘hurdles’ that come across their way.
Finance Minister P.Chidambram, the living example of all colonial traitors says that by allowing MNC’s and the comprador capitalists like Tata, Reliance etc., the farmers will be assured of fair rates and with the ‘elimination’ of Intermediaries consumers can also enjoy low costs. According to that ‘Intelligent’ definition, from the wholesale dealer who buys vegetables from farmers to the road-side grocery vendor, all are ‘Intermediaries’ and they are the ones who are getting ‘eliminated’ now. The crux of the issue is not only the loss of business of small retail traders with the MNC entry but it’s far above that. Markets, whoesale sales and retail form an axis of the economy while productive sectors like Agriculture, textile, industries form the other axis. By exerting their might on the former axis, MNC’s try to control the latter axis of economy.
If production, sales and retail will fall in to the hands of 10-20 MNC’s, then all prices will be under their dictate and nobody can defy them. Like the cement traders of today, they will dictate the prices of all essential commodities and will plunder the people. The arguments of Chidambaram is rubbish as Ambani is not coming to Chennai with 3000 Crores to ensure fair rates for the farmers or for ensuring cheap prices to consumers. Middle class fools too buy this argument by astonishing at the A/C showrooms and the attractive schemes of Reliance.
In the name of hygiene and consumer consciousness, a vicious propaganda is on set by the State that people shouldn’t buy products which are not sealed and not to buy goods without bill. What is the state of hygiene in MNC Products? isn’t the glossy covered Cadbury’s chocolate was found with worms and got banned in Maharashtra? The Killer Coke bottles were found with cockroaches, lizards, nails and even condoms. Was the Coke and Pepsi were banned even after it was proved that they had pesticide residuals that could cause cancer? What about the tightly sealed ‘Lays’ chips that hang around in all petty shops? Isn’t the chemical mixtures added in ‘Lays’ to avoid decomposition were clinically proved to cause cardiac arrest?
Is bill is the sole criteria for consumer safety? Ofcourse Reliance billed its consumers who used its mobile services to make calls to US and UK. But it forged those calls as local calls and deceived the Indian Government for about 3000 Crores. This fully deserved financial crime of Reliance was forgiven by its friend Dayanidhi Maran, the communications minister with a meager fine. A ‘Consumer’ from Chennai has filed a case on the fraudulent act of Reliance Mobiles. Last year it has announced a contest named ‘Film Dhamaka’ and this ‘Consumer’ sent 6000 SMS messages at the cost Rs.6/- per message to the Number 8888. After paying 36,000/- as bill, now he is fighting at the Court that Reliance has not actually conducted the contest and had not given any prize to anyone till date. Do we need any other example to show how cheap tricks can reliance play?
Retail trading in India is the last resort of people who are driven out of all other trades. State and Capitalist vultures want to ‘eliminate’ them even from that verge. Supreme Court showed its complicity by locking the shops of Delhi small traders. In Metros, Platform shops were bulldozed. As a final decisive blow, VAT was implemented to facilitate the entry of MNC’s all over India.
All the parliamentary firebrands are conspicuously maintaining their silence or had washed their hands with formal statements. Even the so-called Left parties are satisfied with their ritual statements. India is not a sovereign country. It has been sold to World Bank, WTO, US and MNC’s. Nationalism, Regionalism, and all those sorts of political trends of India are just jugglery of words and they are not even capable of throwing even a tomato away from the Reliance Shops.
Ambani is not the only one and Koyambedu is not a separate issue. MNC’s are entering in Retail sector only on the pretext of Privatisation and Liberalisation, and the traders of Koyambedu cannot defeat them individually. All compradors of India are backing Ambani. State Machinery, Police, Courts, Political parties and MNC’s are behind them. To defeat such a big enemy, all people affected due to Globalisation need to stand one and by fighting alone they will not be able to move even an inch.
Hunger strikes of traders will not give any results. Strikes and Ghereos are to be organised in the door steps of Reliance Shops. People should boycott Reliance shops and should realise that the so-called freshness assured is just a farce and each and every paisa spent at Reliance shops is nothing but a nail on the coffins of Lakhs and Lakhs of fellow people who served us all these days with all their hard work. We shouldn’t be like Nero’s guests who stood muted to the burning of slaves for the party lights.
Reliance is the first Serpent that had poured its venom in the retail sector. More and more massive serpents are on the pipeline. The only option left out is to slay the snake instead of shivering with fear and get bitten.
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hain, Dekhna hain zor kitna bazuven khatil mein hain.
(The passion of Patriotism linger in our hearts, Let’s see, how powerful the weapons of enemies are! )*
This post is an abridged version of the booklet released by People’s Art and Literary Association (PALA), New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF), Revolutionary Students Youth Front (RSYF) and Peasants Liberation Front (PLF) in Tamil. These organisations have planned for a protest encircling Reliance Fresh Shops in Chennai on coming May 1, 2007.
* One of the favorite songs of Bhagat singh and his comrades.