People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 07

February 17, 2013



Walmart Ties up with Bharti, Finds a Backdoor


More than a thousand traders were arrested on February 12 when they tried to storm into a commercial building, the proposed Walmart storage facility, in Vanagaram, Chennai.


The protestors were among the 2,000 traders who gathered on the busy Bangalore Highway to protest the establishment of the US retail giant in Chennai. They were later released. Addressing the large gathering of activists and shopkeepers, Tamilnadu Traders Federation president A M Vikarama Raja said, “While we are grateful to the chief minister for her strong stand against FDI in retail, Walmart has found a sly way to enter Tamilnadu, by tying up with Bharti. If Walmart succeeds in setting up a shop in Chennai, it will destroy the livelihood of crores of traders across the state.”


Insisting that the massive, still unnamed one lakh square foot complex being constructed near Vanagaram is Walmart’s storage warehouse, he said it was the address given to local grocers and retailers whom the firm approached to get them join its distribution networks.


Raja urged traders from across Tamilnadu to join a national protest rally against FDI in retail in New Delhi on March 7.


Pledging the CPI(M)'s support to the cause, its Central Committee member and leader of the CPI(M) group in state assembly, A Soundararajan, said companies like Walmart operated on budgets that were huger than that of the Tamilnadu government. “Even during its previous stint, the UPA had tried to open out the country for foreign retail investors. We will not allow them to strike such deals as may put our livelihood at stake,” he added.


The stir brought traffic on the Bangalore Highway to a halt for almost two hours. A large number of policemen were deployed on the spot to prevent the entry of the protestors within 500 metres of the complex. Earlier, in December last, the CPI(M) and CPI had organised a powerful protest action against FDI in retail trade outside the Walmart’s corporate office in Anna Nagar, Chennai. (SPR)