GUWAHATI, Sept 28 - Traders downed their shutters across Assam today as the Bharat Trade Bandh called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in protest against the �onslaught� the small businesses were facing in the country received widespread support in the State.
Chemists too joined the strike along with over 50 traders� associations of the State who are protesting FDI in e-commerce or retail trade.
Fuel depots, however, opened by 12 noon so that people do not face much inconvenience.
The bandh evoked near-full response even in Guwahati.
�The bandh was spontaneous in the State. We thank the 60-lakh businessmen who showed full unity for the cause,� national vice president of CAIT Rupam Goswami told this newspaper.
Goswami said the bandh was called to protect interests of the 70 million people associated with retail business in the country who are the backbone of Indian economy. �The economic aggression of giants like Walmart and Alibaba is a challenge to the country�s economy. If these firms usurp the markets, the common man will feel the brunt of price rise in future,� Goswami said.
Demonstrations were also held in some parts of the State.
The trader associations also submitted memorandums with a charter of demands to the Prime Minister through their respective DCs.
Among others, the traders demanded intervention to scrap the Walmart-Flipkart deal. The memorandum stated that the 7 crore small businesses of the country made a handsome contribution to national exchequer and the GDP with an annual turnover of about 42 lakh crores of rupees.
�It is regretted that so far retail trade has never been on priority though after agriculture, this sector is the largest employment provider in the country,� it said, requesting constitution of a high level committee under chairmanship of a senior minister to study in depth the issues and come up with recommendations.