UP agriculture policy rolled back

Published: Saturday 15 September 2007

Protests against retail chains (Credit: MANIK BOSE)the Uttar Pradesh agriculture policy, which was announced on August 3, was scrapped three weeks later. The policy was aimed at giving impetus to retail and contract farming in the state. But the scrapping decision came in the wake of widespread protests against the inauguration of 10 Reliance Fresh and Spencer outlets (retail chain stores) in Lucknow and Varanasi.

It is alleged that the protests were organised by the Samajwadi Party. The chief minister has ordered the outlets to shut shops. Outlets in Ghaziabad and Noida too were given closure notices. But retail chain stores within malls have been spared.

According to reports, chief minister Mayawati decided on the rollback because "farmers were unhappy with the new policy". The policy enabled private players to buy agricultural produce from farmers directly. This allowed big players with a net worth of more than Rs 500 crore and those able to make an investment of Rs 5,000 crore over a period of three years, to set retail stores in the state. The policy also had provision for smaller buyers but they wouldn't get free unified license to trade in other districts of the state. This did not go down well with traders and farmers.

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