Metro Cash & Carry officials to meet Buddhadeb Wednesday

September 23rd, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 23 (IANS) Officials of Metro Cash & Carry, the wholesale division of the Germany-based METRO AG that has been hoping to open an outlet here for the last two years, met West Bengal Agricultural Minister Naren De Tuesday to seek a solution to the impasse over getting a fresh license to start operations.The company officials will meet Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Wednesday on the same issue, a top official said.

Metro Cash & Carry India managing director Martin Dlouhy and vice president (International Relations) Henry Birr held talks with De at the Writers’ Buildings state secretariat.

“Our meeting with Naren De went very well. We have discussed the issue on APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) license. We have also explained the benefits that we bring to the local small and medium businesses like kirana stores and also to the farmers,” Dlouhy said after the meeting.

“We are looking forward to our meeting with the chief minister tomorrow (Wednesday),” he added.

Metro Cash & Carry started setting up the outlet in eastern metropolitan bypass in the city two years back. However, the project got delayed due to land disputes.

After eight months of legal battle, the company finally won permission to resume construction of its first store in the city.

It had been granted a license by the state government to trade in APMC commodities in 2005. It was renewed twice in 2006 and 2007, before the APMC authorities unilaterally withdrew it in June 2007.

“The last renewal was valid till March 2008. The company filed for issuance of fresh APMC license in March 2008 and is still awaiting the same,” said a company official.

De belongs to Forward Bloc, a partner in the ruling Left Front coalition, which has been strongly opposing the entry of large stores by big business houses at the cost of small traders and farmers.

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