JAMMU — Normal economical activities remain affected in Jammu due to traders’ bandh call against the proposed opening of 100 Reliance retail stores in Jammu, a claim which the company termed as false.
A complete shutdown is being observed in Jammu today on Wednesday. The call was given by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry which was supported by twenty five trade and industry lobbies besides several political parties.
Wearing black badges to protest ‘anti-traders’ policies, the business community assembled at various markets and Chamber house and raised slogans like ‘Jammu Ekta Zindabad’.
Several groups of traders under different banners staged a protest at their respective markets.
The protesters said that they are facing a wide range of issues after the abrogation of state’s special status but the latest trigger is the reports of Reliance retail setting up 100 stores in Jammu.
CCI Jammu chief, Arun Gupta, said that the move is aimed at pressurizing the union territory administration to stop ‘torturing’ the Jammu traders in one way or the other.
“We appealed to everyone to observe peaceful bandh against issues related to the Chamber and commerce. We are thankful that the bandh is getting an overwhelming response all over the province, even from the areas where we least expected,” he said.
Many political parties extended support to the call, and I like to humbly appeal them to confine their protests to the issues raised by the traders,” Gupta said, apparently appealing political parties not to link traders issues with the abrogation of special status.
The Jammu transporters also joined the protests and said that it is not for traders only but for every stakeholder of Jammu.
Amid the ongoing protest over the purportedly proposed opening of the Reliance retail stores chain over the past many days, the company on Tuesday said the talk of 100 stores being opened by it is completely untrue.
We have not opened any stores in Jammu. We have a few delivery points in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and these are set up by our delivery partners to support the small traders, a spokesperson of the Reliance Retail said in a statement.
The Reliance said it has a long track record of supporting small traders and we remain steadfast in our commitment of partnering with small merchants.
Earlier, the JCCI alleged that businessmen in Jammu are facing the “highest degree of discrimination” due to the “directionless policies” of the union territory government like ending the age-old biannual Darbar move, new excise and the Geology and Mining Department policies, proposed move by big business houses like Reliance to open stores and restrictions on banquet halls, among other issues.