Produce retailers shut down in four Indian states after protests
Governments in four Indian states have forced retail produce outlets to shut down in the wake of protests from independent traders.
Thursday saw the state of Uttar Pradesh, which neighbors New Delhi, force three retailers to shutter their stores: Reliance Fresh, Subhiksha and Spencer's.
It follows similar moves by governments in West Bengal (where Calcutta is the capital), Tamil Nadu and Jharkaland. In all four instances, trader groups who have significant pull over left-leaning politicians have forced the state governments' hands. They fear the rise of produce retailers could put an end to the mom-and-pop industry.
Overcoming the status quo is one of many obstacles the growing retail sector faces, particularly in the produce retail market. At a conference for small and medium Indian logistics companies in Mumbai last week, Jagan Mohan Misra, general manager of Savla Foods and Cold Storage, suggested that more than one-third of perishable goods in India are damaged in transit, resulting in nationwide losses of $14.5 billion.
Experts here believe that the rise of retailing, fueled by domestic giants like Reliance, could help introduce leaner logistics practices that independent traders have been unwilling or unable to undertake.