Protest on Tuesday
Traders in the State will go on a token strike on November 29 by closing down shops to register their protest against the move of the Central government to allow 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector.
Merchants' organisations, including the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) and the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi (KVVS), called upon their members to organise district-level campaigns and protest meetings on the day to convey the unrest of the merchant fraternity.
T. Nazirudeen, president of KVVES, said the introduction of FDI in retail sector would affect the lives of more than 10 lakh traders and their families. He said the Centre was adopting a stance in favour of multinational companies to overthrow poor people making a living from the retail trade.
Leaders of the KVVES claimed that the entry of corporate giants with huge investment would slowly pave the way for uncontrolled price hike of consumer goods. “Though they would begin the trade with attractive offers and price reduction, it would never last long in the process of profit-oriented operation,” they said.
The leaders urged political parties to take up the issue and communicate the apprehension of the community to the Centre. “For planning more public campaigns, the KVVES secretariat would meet in Thrissur on December 5,” they said.
Meanwhile, members of the KVVS would stage State-wide protests to express their concern over the issue. Office-bearers of the Samithi K. Sreedharan and C.K. Vijayan said they would observe a “black day” on November 29. In protest against the Centre's move, the KVVS leaders on Friday organised marches and public meetings at several places in the district.
The Federation of North Kerala Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FENOCCI) too expressed concern over the Centre's move. M. Muzammil, chairman of the federation, said the move would affect the lives of thousands of retail traders. The country would move to a situation where multinational companies determined the price of a product, he said.