Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday ordered the closure of all Reliance Fresh and other large retail stores in the state which sold fresh fruit and vegetables. The step was a response to the violent agitation against the stores as soon as the first of these opened in Lucknow and Varanasi on Wednesday. The stir was spearheaded by the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP), with its MP Banwarilal Kanchal leading the demonstrators in Lucknow.
“In view of the protests, it is necessary to review the matter,” Mayawati told reporters. She added that a committee headed by cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had been set up to examine all aspects of such retail stores and formulate a policy for them within a month.
Spencer’s Retail also runs six stores in Lucknow, which will be closed down as well. Other malls and supermarkets which do not sell fresh farm produce would not be affected. She also scrapped the new agriculture policy incorporating contract farming. She cited an intelligence report which said 60 per cent of farmers were opposed to contract farming. “The government is committed to protecting the interest of farmers,” Mayawati said.
Reliance Retail had planned to open 255 stores across UP by November. Company spokesperson Manu Kapoor told
, “We will urge the chief minister to reconsider her decision.”