The Spencer’s Retail Mega Store opened today after a quick agreement reached between the Hawkers and the officials of RPG group (owned by R.P.Goenka, Sanjib Goenka). Calcutta Municipal Corporation (Run by the Left Parties) mediated in the negotiations. The store was scheduled to open on Friday, the 4th July’08, but could not be opened due to severe hawker’s protest at the Gariahat in the Ballygung area of Calcutta.
As per the agreement the Spencer’s would adhere to the business model given below:-
- Rice, fruits and vegetables would be sold in units of 3kg or more.
- Potatoes and onions have to be sold in units of 6kg or more
- Spices would not be sold in packs less than 500gms.
- Rice to be sold must be branded.
- Only Branded garments to be sold with price not less than 300/-
- All the items sold in the mart to have higher price than the price of Hawkers.
It was further agreed upon by the parties that a two-member committee with the representatives from both sides would review the adherence to the agreement after two months and then onwards as and when necessary. The Mayor of Calcutta, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya was present when the negotiations were held at a three-hour meeting on Saturday the 5th July.
CITU (CPIM’s Labour Wing) State President Shyamal Chakrabory was also present at the meeting and said, “our main objective is to protect small traders and hawkers.” Some 5000 hawkers and over a 1000 traders operate in the areas in the vicinity of the Hypermart.
This agreement would go a long way to serve as a model for opening other hyperstores and is an example of co-existence of all type of trade activity in a peaceful manner.