Metro Cash

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Kolkata, Sep 26: After the Tatas it is now the turn of German based firm, Metro Cash and Carry that is undergoing a spat from the West Bengal Government. The German firm has served a 100-hour notice on Thursday, Sep 25 and has cautioned the Government to pull back from the State, if the Government fails to sort out the vexed APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) licence problem.

"Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and agriculture minister Naren De have requested the company to wait for the decision of the government till Monday, Sep 29 on re-issuance of the APMC licence. We"ve agreed to honour this request," Metro Cash & Carry (India) MD Martin Dlouhy said.

However, Dlouhy said the company would be 'very disappointed' if its APMC licence, which was unilaterally withdrawn in June 2007, was not reissued as that would put the company's investment here in a tight spot.

"Non-reissuance of the APMC licence will adversely impact our whole business concept, which is now compelling us to take another look at our investments in West Bengal," he added.

Going a step further, German consul-general Gunter Wehrmann warned that denying Metro a licence would "sound the death knell for all future German investments in the eastern region since the Metro issue is being followed closely by other German companies".

"German companies go where others are present. Already, no German investor or delegation is interested in coming to Bengal because of the Singur issue. If Metro also faces a problem, it'll make the position more difficult," Wehrmann added.

On Tuesday, Sep 23 and Wednesday, Sep 24, a Metro delegation, which included Dlouhy and group Vice-President (international affairs) Heinrich Birr, had held meetings with De and Bhattacharjee respectively. Company officials had termed the meeting with the CM as 'encouraging'.

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