Wehrmann criticises non-issuance of APMC license

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Kolkata, Sep 25 (UNI) German Consul General in Kolkata Guenther Wehrmann today warned that non-issuance of APMC license would sound a death knell for future German investors in West Bengal, even though the company agreed to wait till September 29 before 'relooking' at its investment plan in the state.

"If Metro cash and Carry is not given the APMC license, it will sound a death knell for any future German investment. If they see that Metro is having a serious problem here, they will just go elsewhere," Mr.Wehrmann, who was present at a press conference of the company, said.

Talking to reporters later, the Consul General said all the German investors, intending to come to West Bengal, had stopped taking any initiative. "They are following very closely the developments in Singur and that concerning MCC.This is a very serious situation," he said.

The APMC(Agricultural Produces Marketing Committee) license for Metro Cash and Carry allows corporate entities to buy farm produce directly from farmers and sell them in the market.

It is issued by the Agricultural Marketing Department, controlled by the Forward Bloc, a major partner of the ruling Left Front, which is opposed to Metro's entry in the retail sector.

Echoing Mr.Wehrmann, MCC Managing Director Martin Dlouhy said the company, which had already invested Rs. 140 crore, would not open its outlet till the license was reissued and would be 'forced to review the situation and think all possible actions'after September 29 if the state government did not come out with a positive response.

"We would be very disappointed if the state Agriculture Marketing Board does not re-issue the license to Metro.The non-issuance of the APMC license would adversely impact our whole business concept which is now compelling us to re-look at our investments in West Bengal," he said.

The MD, however, said the company was 'optimistic and hopeful' after the 'encouraging and constructive' meetings the company officials had yesterday with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Agriculture Minister Naren De, a leader of the ruling Left Front partner, Forward Bloc, which was opposed to Metro's entry in the retail sector.

Both the leaders requested the company to wait for the decision of the Government till Monday on the re-issuance of APMC license and the company "agreed to honour" the request.

Metro Group Vice President, International Affairs, Henry Birr said the company had planned to invest in West Bengal at least 120 million dollars for setting up four Cash and Carry wholesale centers in Kolkata alone.

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