A high-level meeting to resolve the issue of granting a licence to Metro Cash & Carry failed to reach a consensus on Monday. While the state government claimed that the German giant had accepted most of the conditions imposed by the Forward Bloc-controlled APMC, company officials did not confirm it.
The Bloc is demanding that the German major should not be allowed to sell products less than Rs 5000 and the retailers, who will buy from the company, should have a licence from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC). The wholesale giant is, however, against these conditions.
To sort out the issues, a delegation of the company held a meeting with Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb at the Writers’ Buildings on Monday. Principal Secretary to the chief minister Subesh Das, APMC Chairman Naren Chatterjee and other officials of the agriculture department were also present at the meeting.
After the meeting, Das said the state government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the company on October 10. Chatterjee said the company has accepted five of the six conditions that were imposed by the APMC for granting a licence to the company. According to Chatterjee, the conditions were: Metro cannot sell any product that costs less than Rs 5,000; It will never enter into retail business in the state; If any dispute arises between the company and APMC, it will be decided only at a Kolkata court; The company will have to keep the APMC informed about the kind of commodities they will keep in their outlets; The company cannot go for contract farming; They will have to follow the APMC rules, failing which, their licence will be cancelled.
“We could not reach a consensus on the first condition but the company has accepted the remaining ones,” Chatterjee said.
The company, however, did not confirm that they have accepted the conditions. “Our discussions are going on. We can say anything only when a decision is taken,” Vishal Sehgal, head, corporate communications, Metro Cash & Carry, told The Indian Express.
The issue of granting licence to the German company had created a rift between the CPM, which favoured the granting of the licence and the Forward Bloc, which was against it.
Things came to such a pass that the Bloc had decided to withdraw its ministers from the state Cabinet. The issue was resolved at a Left Front meeting, when it was decided that the company would be issued a licence only if it accepted some conditions.