WB: Traders protesting German Metro Cash

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Kolkata, Oct 11: Traders in Kolkata are up in arms against the German retailer Metro AG. Germany's Metro AG has received a new licence for its cash and carry wholesale arm in West Bengal, with the Left Government limiting its activities to protect farmers and small traders.

Metro, Germany's biggest retailer plans to invest 120 million dollars in at least four new cash-and-carry centres in West Bengal, doubling the number of centres in India.

The traders who took out a march said they would continue their protests.

"We are serving a warning to consumers who will ultimately be deprived by this multi-national company if they go into retail market. That's why we are protesting. We will continue to oppose it," said Mahesh Singhania, the chairman of the Federation of West Bengal Trade Association.

The All India Forward Bloc had last month stopped the state from renewing Metro's licence, insisting on conditions that would prevent Metro from contract farming, which it says will hurt small farmers.

The Forward Bloc has also opposed the entry of large local corporates such as Reliance Industries and the Goenka Group in retail and contract farming.

India allows foreign multiple-brand retailers to operate only via wholesale or franchise and licence arrangements in its fast-growing retail market, which is forecast to nearly double from an estimated 350 billion dollars by 2015.

Metro's global rivals Wal-Mart Stores and Tesco Plc plan to set up wholesale cash-and-carry operations soon, and Carrefour has also said it plans to enter India.

The limits placed on Metro comes on the heels of Tata Motors' decision to move a factory for the ultra-cheap 'Nano' car out of the state to Gujarat, after violent protests by farmers in West Bengal against the factory.


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