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January 6, 2014

Govt-owned cooperative stores: formidable rivals of private retail outlets

Govt-owned cooperative stores: formidable rivals of private retail outlets

The network of the government-owned cooperative stores spread over the entire state can be a formidable rival of private retail outlets if run properly. With the objectives of augmenting revenue and offering cheaper prices to consumers in mind, the state cooperation department is planning to revamp the working hours of these cooperative stores so that consumers can step into them whenever they like as they do in private retail outlets.

As a first step the state government is planning on extending the working hours of its cooperatives-run retail shops. Private retail outlets are open from morning till night and most of private retails shops’ employees work on shift duty basis. Hence they are earning huge profits.

The Minister for Cooperation department said that he will start visiting the state government-run cooperative retail outlets shortly to see the existing infrastructure and later take a final decision. “The state government has a large number of cooperative shops. If we could extend the time, we could provide better services to customers and thus the government revenue will be augmented,” he said. “Cooperative movements were destroyed during the Left Front tenure. State-run cooperative shops were lying sick during the erstwhile Left Front tenure,” he said.

The state government is also planning to sell several handicrafts items from the cooperative shops. The officials of the cooperation department were asked to find out new ways for augmenting the revenues of the cooperative shops, among others, by carrying new varieties of commodities.

The state is also planning to sell fresh vegetables and fruits from these shops. Several specials items from districts like `Joynogorer Moa`, milk products and other kind of foods will also be sold from state-run cooperatives shops. The Cooperation department is also planning on selling potatoes, seeds, fertilizers and agricultural equipment from state-run cooperatives shops in the rural areas.

“The cooperation department has asked BENFED, the state cooperative marketing federation, for coming up with a plan on the kind of products for the farmers that could be sold in the cooperative shops,” the Minister said. “Our state-run cooperative shops are located everywhere in the state. It has a good marketing chain and the department wants to utilize it fully for augmenting revenue,” he said.

Cooperation department officials will also visit outside states including Punjab, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for ideas on boosting the cooperative movement for the benefit of general consumers and farmers and meet the government run cooperative marketing federation in those states.