Mobile The latest mass action organized by India FDI Watch Campaign and joined by our allies was called a halla bol against the insertion of foreign companies into the Indian retail sector without regulations and protections. In Hindi halla bol would translate in English to attack or make a loud noise! This is a serious protest, and it was held with great vigor in a number of Indian cities on the 23rd of February, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
Vinod Shetty in our Mumbai office describes the events there in a brief press note:
TRADERS, MATHADI WORKERS AND HAWKERS CLOSE DOWN RETAIL OUTLETS OF CORPORATES IN NAVI-MUMBAI IN HALLA BOL RALLY IN SUPPORT OF THEIR DEMANDS AGAINST ENTRY OF NATIONAL AND MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS INTO RETAIL TRADE ON 23rd FEBRUARY, 2008.
In a spectacular road show one of the first in the history of navi Mumbai one hundred motor bikes and 25 cars took to the streets and demonstrated outside various outlets of corporates . Starting from the CBD Belapur outlet of RELIANCE Fresh and followed by the CENTRE-ONE Mall, MORE, FOODLAND and a mini Rasta Roko outside the D-Mart outlet, nearly all the outlets had closed their shutters in order to avoid any damage to their stores.
The traders , workers and hawkers were demanding the protection of APMC markets, against entry of multinational and national corporations into the retail trade.
The Hala Bol programme was attended by hundreds of retail and wholesale traders, Chemists, mathadi workers and hawkers on Saturday the 23rd of February at Navi Mumbai, the rally was flagged off from the Mathadi Bhavan , APMC MArket, navi Mumbai by senior leader of the Traders Shri Chandrakant Sanghavi and Shri Popatrao Dhonde President of the Mathadi workers union.
The Traders and mathadi workers took out a disciplined and peaceful Motor Cycle/car rally from Mathadi Bhavan , APMC market, Navi Mumbai to Khoparkairne, the rally started at 11.30 am and travel along the route covering CBD- Belapur-Seawood-Centreone- Arenjia Circl-Shivaji Maharaj Chowk- Khoparkairne and ended at 2pm at the Dana Bunder APMC Market .
The Garherings were addressed by leaders of the Traders Shri Mohan Gurnani, Shri Sharad Maru, Shri Ashok Baria, Shri Nilesh Vera and Shri Pramod Joshi. Shri Narendra Patil from the Mathadi Workers Union and Shri Prafula Mhatre and Shri Rambabu Gupta spoke on behalf of the hawkersand Shri Gawand from the cooperative sector.
The HALA BOL protests were organised all over the country on the call of the National Rozgar Vyapar Bachao Andolan , and large protests were held in Kerala , Bangalore, Delhi. In Navi Mumbai the protests were under the banner of the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra and the VYAPAR ROZGAR SURAKSHA KRITI SAMITI, which is an alliance of various trade organisations, workers unions and hawkers organization and NGOs which is spearheading the movement to protect jobs and livelihoods.
The English language paper, Live Mint, included a page of coverage on the action. Click here to link to the article.