Nearly 2 million shopowners and traders in Tamil Nadu downed their shutters on Thursday in protest against the Centre's decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in in multi-brand retail. The bandh was called by the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangakalin Peravai, a body representing traders, and other trade associations.
The famous Koyambedu vegetable market, largest in Asia, here was also closed for the day as a mark of protest. However, hotels did not participate in the strike.
Leaders from the Vanigar Sangakalin Peravai want the Centre to rollback the decision, stating it would harm lakhs of small retail owners and traders and their families. Both the ruling and its main rival in the state have opposed the government’s decision.
Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa strongly condemned the decision, alleging it was taken under pressure from a few retail giants. She said her government would not allow multi-brand global players to set up their markets in the state.
DMK president M Karunanidhi, who's party is a key ally in the ruling UPA, has also expressed apprehensions over the Centre’s decision and demanded the decision be withdrawn immediately.