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Reliance Fresh set to shut in UP, faces trouble in Orissa


Rohini Singh,CNN-IBN
Sep 26, 2007 at 08:26pm IST

New Delhi: Reliance Fresh is downing shutters in Uttar Pradesh all together. With the state government backing the closure of Reliance Fresh stores in Varanasi and Lucknow, sources say it has decided to pull the plug on its proposed Rs 9000 crore investment plan for Uttar Pradesh.

As the first step, it has handed out termination letters to 850 employees in the state. The company has also shut its 20 outlets in Ghaziabad and Noida.

While there isn't a blanket ban on Reliance Fresh stores in Uttar Pradesh, company sources say frequent disruptions and the sudden reversal of the state government's policy on agriculture have forced this decision.

Reliance Fresh currently has 320 stores across the country. Of this 30 are in Uttar Pradesh and the plan was to hike that number to 1500.

Sources say the company has already invested close to Rs 3000 crore in land acquisition and infrastructure in the state. Reliance Fresh has 3000 employees in Uttar Pradesh and sources say more could be sacked soon.

Curiously, other big retailers like Spencers, Subhiksha and Kishore Biyani's future group have not borne the brunt of traders’ ire.

Not just Uttar Pradesh, the Orissa state police has asked Reliance Fresh to shut its outlets in Bhubaneswar for a few days. Sources say following large scale protest Reliance will go slow on its retail rollout as the issue takes on a political hue learn.

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