Reliance Retail sacks 400 in West Bengal

Written by Agencies | Kolkata, September 30: | Updated: Sep 30 2007, 21:12pm hrs
After facing resistance in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa, Mukesh Ambani group firm Reliance Retail has sacked 400 employees or half its work force in West Bengal following protests by local traders and political parties that prevented it from rolling out its fresh food outlets.

A source in Reliance Retail said the company has terminated the services of 400 people and another 300 may be given the pink slip. The company had hired nearly 800 people in West Bengal for its Reliance Fresh outlets, which were to come up in and around Kolkata.

The development in West Bengal comes on the heels of the company facing protests from traders and political parties in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. It had reportedly decided to shelve its estimated investment plans of over Rs 13,000 crore in the two states, putting at stake at least 10,000 jobs, due to local resistance and lack of support from state governments.

In West Bengal too, the company felt that due to strong opposition by some political parties it was not possible to open the stores. Although the state government thought of providing police protection to run the store, the source said it was not possible to run retail stores under cops vigil.

Recently activists hailing from BJP ransacked a store in the Burrabazar area even before the retail venture could complete one month of its operation. Since then the company had decided to go slow in starting its retail operations. The company had originally planned to invest Rs 2,000 crore in developing the agri-retail network in West Bengal.