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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Bengal Reliance Retail unit on high alert

Bengal Reliance Retail unit on high alert

September 01, 2007 14:43 IST

What started as a protest to protect the interest of small traders in wake of organised retail, is steadily brewing into a full-fledged political strife.

Days after two of the Reliance's ready-to-be launched stores were damaged by diverse political groups, one of the outlets at  the Uttarpara area of the Hooghly district was covered with Trinamool flags and posters, with no signs of the police protection as assured by the chief minister.

The posters accused the CPIM of acting as a broker for Reliance.

The picture contrasted the situation at the Reliance outlet at Girish Park, which was twice attacked by some alleged miscreants.

While the Girish Park outlet was cordoned with police personnels, Arindam Chudhary, the owner of building that houses the Uttarpara property was wary about disclosing his identity in public in fear of another attack.

"We are not provided with any police security, and i don't want to disclose outside the store that I am a part of Reliance because I fear an attack," he said.

Meanwhile, Tapas Mukherjee, a Trinamul Congress councilor in Hooghly's Uttarpara-Kotrang municipality, who was charged with spearheading the violent protest in Uttarpara was reported "absconding" by a senior police official at the Uttarpara police station.

The police raided his house earlier, he said, adding that investigation was launched against the miscreants.

The police station had a small force of 40 men only, inadequate to serve the wide jurisdiction under its control, he admitted.

Chaudhury planned resume work in the proposed Reliance outlet this Monday, even though he had apprehensions about police protection.

The 4,000 square feet outlet was to be launched within the next 15-20 days.

However, the store would not be launched before November this year, said Chaudhury.

Apart from a fresh fruit and vegetable counter, the store was supposed to have a separate 400-square feet area outside the store for selling meat.

A diesel power generating machine needed to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh had been brought to the store.

However, in wake of widespread protest against agri-retailing, Reliance might have to modify its plans to sell fruits and vegetables, and the store might start as any other retail outlet, said Chaudhury, who was in talks with Reliance to operate the store. 

According to him, another yet-to-be opened Reliance store at Uttarpara was targeted by Trinamool activists earlier this week. 

Namrata Acharya in Kolkata/Uttarpara