Hooray, Maya Shuts Down Reliance Supermarkets

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has shut down 10 Reliance Industries superstores after protests by small traders and political activists.

Five supermarkets run by another Indian retail chain Spencer’s have also been shut down.

Mayawati, who became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh recently, after a resounding victory, said:

I have constituted a high-level committee to review the whole affair and until the committee gives a green signal, Reliance Fresh stores will remain shut.

Small merchants and their employees fear that these self-service airconditioned supermarkets pose a big threat to their livelihood and have been staging protests against the big stores.

Betting big on its retail plans, Reliance Industries has committed to investing $5.5 billion in this segment. The company’s web site boasts that:

The retail initiative of Reliance will be without a parallel in size and spread and make India proud.

But without a safety net, many small retailers and their employees in India are likely to be severely impacted – and many rendered destitute – by the growth of these supermarkets.

In the U.S., superstores like Walmart are not seen as friendly to their employees, many of whom are poorly paid and rely on the government for their medical care because of their low wages.

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