Left opposes Wal-Mart entry into Chennai

Two main Left parties on Wednesday led a protest rally against the entry of the global chain Wal-Mart into the city after the Centre’s recent decision to allow foreign direct investments in multi brand retail.

  The protesters, led by State CPI and CPM leaders, T Pandian and G Ramakrishnan respectively, were trying to lay siege to a commercial-cum-residential complex at Anna Nagar, where “Bharti-Wal-Mart,” the Indian joint venture of the US retail giant for wholesale operations has planned to open a marketing office. There are allegations that Wal-Mart was also getting ready a “warehouse” in suburban Vanagaram.

The Left parties’ protests were sparked after the Centre’s new policy to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investments (FDI) in retail, wherein agents canvassing for “Bharti-Wal-Mart” were trying to “issue membership cards” to local traders and hotels to become part of their wholesale distribution network for buying groceries and other items and benefit by it.

 Though Wal-Mart insists that this “format” of wholesale trade was totally different from entering into direct retail trade, the Left party leaders asserted that it was only a stepping stone for the MNC to enter and capture the retail trade network as well.  “As the Tamil Nadu government has already decided that it will not allow multinational chains like Wal-Mart enter the retail trade, their attempted back-door entry should also be blocked,” said Ramakrishnan.  A large number of protesters and volunteers from both parties swelled before the premises, demanding that they be let in.

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