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Walmart and Reliance Struggling with Farmers Protest in The Capital

News Link: Walmart and Reliance Struggling with Farmers Protest in The Capital – By MK (Editor)

Dozens of Reliance Industries’ retail stores and a giant Walmart outlet face revenue losses of millions of dollars. The loss is after being forced to shut for more than three months over protests against India’s new farm laws, sources said.

Thousands of farmers from states including northern Punjab have camped for weeks on the outskirts of the capital. They are in a bid to force Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeal the laws they contend will benefit corporates, rather than cultivators.

Fears of farmers’ agitation in Punjab, home to many protest leaders, have stoked companies’ fears over vandalism and the safety of employees. Which prompting the closure of dozens of shops, store employees and industry sources said.

Since October, more than half the roughly 100 stores of top retailer Reliance Retail in Punjab have been shut. Same with Walmart’s 50,000-square-foot (4,645-sq-m) wholesale outlet in the district of Bathinda.

One industry source said estimated losses for Reliance from its state-wide shutdowns run into millions of dollars. Walmart’s estimated revenue loss from its store, one of 29 such outlets nationwide, has crossed $8 million.

Thousands of items in the store are gathering dust and have passed their use-by date.

Walmart and its Indian unit, Flipkart, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reliance, India’s largest private company, also did not respond.

A Punjab official said authorities were ready to provide security but could do little if companies had decided to keep their stores shut.

For their part, farmer unions have vowed to continue the protests and block stores from opening. Even as the Supreme Court this week ordered a temporary suspension of the farm laws as it sets up a panel to examine their complaints.

India says the laws passed in September will boost farmers’ incomes by letting them deal directly with big companies. So bypass government-regulated wholesale markets.

But many of the unions disagree, saying they risk losing their bargaining power and becoming vulnerable to potential bulk buyers.

They fear the eventual disappearance of the guaranteed prices the government pays for their grain.

Read More News At Business Segment

News Link: Walmart and Reliance Struggling with Farmers Protest in The Capital – By MK (Editor)

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