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Reliance bears the brunt, again

The face-off between Reliance Retail, on the one hand, and traders and mathadis (headload workers) of the Vashi wholesale market, on the other, reached phase-II on Wednesday.

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Wednesday’s bonfire episode follows the Oct 22 attack on Reliance outlets

MUMBAI: The face-off between Reliance Retail, on the one hand, and traders and mathadis (headload workers) of the Vashi wholesale market, on the other, reached phase-II on Wednesday. Nearly 50 crates of fruits worth Rs25,000 of Reliance Retail were set on fire by traders of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in full view of the market in the afternoon.

A Reliance spokesperson said that around 15 people barged into its rental space in Vashi Fruit Mandi about 11.15 am and forcibly took away 200 crates of fruits, worth Rs50,000, and set them on fire. He said there have been some simmering discontent among traders against the fact that APMC licences have been granted to organised retail for this procurement activity.

However, traders alleged that the Reliance produce was being sold by a non-licensed holder in the market.
 Wednesday’s bonfire episode follows the October 22 attack on outlets of Reliance Fresh in Navi Mumbai, in protest against entry of big corporates in retail industry.

Vijay Dhoble, secretary of Fruits and Vegetables Merchant Association, said that Reliance segregates the fruits bought from the market into the good quality ones (as per Reliance standards) which are then sent to their outlets and the rest are dumped at throwaway prices in APMC. “This is affecting the prices of the other fruits in the market and are also unable to give the right price to the farmers,” said Dhoble.

He further claimed that in order to take a decision on this, they had called the APMC deputy secretary of the fruits market RR Saed. “In his presence, the person who was selling the reliance produce was interrogated and was found that he is not an APMC licence holder and was just a Reliance employee,” said Dhoble. The produce that has been entering the market is also not been recorded, claims the traders.

Saed said that the person was identified as PG Bangar and shop (gala no. J390) from where the produce was being sold is under the name of one Gupta. “We need to know the truck number so as to identify on whose name the produce has been sent,” he said. Saed said no permission has been given to Reliance to sell the produce in the market. An FIR has been lodged by the company.

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