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ITC plans 'Choupal Sagar' hypermarts for rural India
Hindustan Times - 28 Aug 2005

With its model mall in a Madhya Pradesh village proving a success, the cigarettes-to-hotels major ITC is set to build more hypermarts for rural India to replace age-old kirana or retail shops. ITC's Choupal Sagar, as the hypermart in Madhya Pradesh is called, is connected to the company's e-choupal network.

Company officials said 30 more Choupal Sagar hypermarts could be in the offing over the next 18 months. It will cost the company around Rs 50 million ($1.14 million) for each of these hypermarts that would sell everything from fertilisers to hair oil and tractors to needles. ITC's e-choupal network covers over 5,000 e-choupals and three million villagers in 31,000 villages.

A farmer coming to sell his produce through the e-choupal can also buy anything he wants through the same network. ITC has e-choupal networks in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Its Choupal Sagars are malls that double up as shopping and facilitation centres for farmers. They provide training, investment advice, agricultural expertise and even facilities like banking.