The committee constituted by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government to study the impact of large organized retailers on small and unorganized groups has made very little headway.
Arun Misra, UP’s principal secretary for health, said the five-member group had only one meeting in the last two months to discuss the issue. He said he had no idea when the next meeting would be held and declined to say when the report would be ready.
In August, chief minister Mayawati constituted the committee, headed by state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and made up of other top bureaucrats. She asked them to study, among other things, law and order problems posed by branded retailers. The group was also expected to study whether the state should allow opening of new stores by modern retailers.
A Reliance Fresh outlet in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, before the chain shut all its stores in the state.
The study was initiated after Mayawati ordered the closure of all grocery outlets owned by Reliance Retail Ltd. At that time, Mayawati said the committee would submit its report in a month’s time.
Reliance Retail has since closed all its Reliance Fresh stores in the state and axed about 1,000 jobs, and it has put all its future plans on hold, senior company officials said.
The company fired another 400 in West Bengal after it failed to make its debut in the state after facing stiff opposition from a powerful governing coalition partner in the state government, the Forward Bloc.
The company had ambitious plans for India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, and was planning to invest about Rs4,000 crore in opening 15 million sq. ft of shopping space, including 250 Reliance Fresh and 75 health and beauty stores, a dozen each of consumer electronics stores and hypermarkets, and 80 retail hubs called Reliance Town Centres in smaller towns.