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Aug. debut for Fresh

Bhubaneswar, June 19: Reliance Retail plans to launch 18 Reliance Fresh outlets for fruits, vegetables and dairy products across Bhubaneswar and Cuttack over the next six months.

The retail chain, owned by Mukesh Ambani, faced the wrath of vendors in neighbouring Jharkhand last month. Three outlets were vandalised in Ranchi. However, the concern hopes that it will not see a rerun of the Jharkhand fiasco in Orissa. Reliance expects to roll off its outlets by the end of August or early September.

Chief people officer and president of Reliance Retail Bijay Sahoo, originally from Orissa, along with its state chief executive Kamadeb Mohanty, today met chief minister Naveen Patnaik and secretaries to discuss the direct and indirect employment that would be generated with the launch of the outlets.

A senior government official, who attended today’s meeting, said the group highlighted upon the new jobs that the chain would create. “During their presentation, the officials stressed that by seven years, there will be 40 Reliance Fresh outlets, 50 rural business hubs, 21 Reliance town centres, 14 speciality stores, 15 collection centres and four hyper-markets with 26,000 direct employment opportunities. There will be an equal number of indirect posts,” the official added. Mohanty, however, refused to speak about the meeting calling it a “courtesy call”.

The company has already chosen 10 sites in Bhubaneswar and plans to appoint eight more in neighbouring Cuttack with each having 4,000sqft floor space. The rural business hubs, where Reliance would set up cold storage in villages, would generate at least 20,000 employment. Its urban counterpart Reliance town centres would employ over 17,000 people, both directly and indirectly. “It’s possible to create employment not only in towns, but also at tehsil levels,” said the Reliance officials.

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