If foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed in retail market, it will swallow up the livelihood of 8 crore people involved in the trade, said CPI(M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan on Saturday. Addressing a protest organised by Chennai Maangar Siru Viyapari Sangangalin Kootamaippu, he said the previous UPA regime could not go ahead with its proposal to allow FDI in retail because the Left had a strong presence in the Parliament. Mr. Ramakrishnan said American public corporations like Walmart were keen on entering the Indian retail market because it was vast and offered great space for profit making.

“The turnover in retail trade in 2004-05 was Rs 12 lakh crore and the amount has gone up to Rs 19 lakh crore now. That is why these multi-nationals are eyeing the Indian market,” he said, rejecting the Centre's argument that retail trade had not achieved growth.

As for another argument that these companies would set up cold storage facilities in rural areas, he wanted to know why the government depended on multi-nationals instead of creating infrastructure for the farmers.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury in his message said FDI in retail affected all sections of the society.

President of the Kootamaippu T.N. Nambirajan and general secretary P. Karunanidhi participated.

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