Though the ‘SEZ earth’ is shaking in Nandigram, the tremors are being felt in faraway states like Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Another controversial issue may likely be large-format organized retail. Not without reason that the left parties have recently suggested that big retail joints may be allowed only in suburbs.
If agreed to, this will spare countless small city shops an uncertain future. As if on cue, the Pantaloons Group is planning a string of large format retail malls along the entire stretch of NH-34 up to Siliguri, starting with a 2.8 lakh sq ft mall in Madhyamgram near Barasat named Pathapadap, which will be the group’s largest single-location retail outlet (ref: ET, Kolkata, March 27).
Since the competition is intense, and further since no one knows what the government will decide on the issue, what is happening is that every large group is hastily chalking out its own strategy.
An example is that of Reliance group. Following Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s (KMC) intention to renovate Park Circus market, Reliance has submitted a proposal not only for it but also for 18 more KMC markets like Entally market and New Market.
Already, Lake Market and College Street market are undergoing massive facelifting. To this will now get added other ones. According to KMC’s calculation, at least Rs.100 crore is required to renovate its markets, which it doesn’t want to cough up citing cash crunch.
But that won’t any longer be a hurdle, given the obvious interest on part of biggies like Reliance. Don’t we know, make hay while the sun shines!
A Kolkata fish market – set to change [Picture source]