Forward Bloc opposes Metro Cash & Carry licence
Monday, 29 September 2008, 07:00 Hrs
Kolkata: The Forward Bloc (FB), a member of West Bengal's ruling Left Front (LF), Saturday asked the state government to withdraw by Sep 30 its decision to renew the licence of German wholesale major Metro Cash & Carry. The Forward Bloc also decided to opt out of the state cabinet if the state government sanctioned the licence for the company. "The decision to renew the licence for Metro Cash & Carry was neither discussed in the cabinet nor in the LF meeting. The concerned ministry was not consulted either. The government has an agriculture department which is dealing with the issue," senior FB leader and West Bengal State Marketing Board chairperson Naren Chattopadhyay told IANS. "Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee used his special power and took a unilateral decision to renew the licence of Metro Cash & Carry. This is unprecedented in the 30-year history of the LF government in West Bengal," he said. Earlier, the FB opposed the renewal of the APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) licence for Metro Cash & Carry. FB state general secretary Ashok Ghosh Friday said the party would not allow any big investor or foreign investor to eat up the space of small and poor farmers and the intermediaries. The German company started the project of constructing a 100,000 sq ft outlet with an investment of $30 million in Eastern Metropolitan (EM) Bypass a couple of years back. The project got delayed due to land disputes. It was granted a licence to trade in APMC commodities in 2005, which was renewed in 2006 and 2007 till March 2008. However, in June 2007 APMC authorities withdrew the licence. The company sought a fresh APMC licence in March 2008 and is awaiting the same. "If the government does not comply with our decision and reconsider the issue, we'll opt out of the state cabinet. We've unanimously taken this decision in today's (Saturday) state secretariat meeting," Chattopadhyay said. The German firm has opened four stores in India - two in Bangalore and one each in Hyderabad and Mumbai.