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Metro Cash & Carry to invest Rs 900 cr in Punjab

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata 

Metro Cash & Carry, the German wholesale major, today said it plans to invest Rs 900 crore in Punjab to set up six distribution centres. “We have plans to enter Punjab now,” said Martin Dlouhy, the managing director of Metro Cash & Carry, India, without mentioning a time-frame.

The project is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for about 2,700 people in the state. Metro Cash and Carry, which has 600 supply centres across 30 countries, will set up two distribution centres in Ludhiana, one each in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Zirakpur and Mohali.

The distribution centre will be a one-stop shop, which will stock food and non-food products to cater to the needs of all business customers. Meanwhile, Metro today opened its first outlet in Kolkata, its fifth in the country, after Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Metro’s special focus will be on hotels, restaurants, traders and kirana stores.

“We are planning to invest in setting up more stores in Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. We will follow the same business-to-business model, but stores may vary in sizes,” Dlouhy said. Last year, the retail giant procured products worth Euro 60 million from different states of the country.

Metro’s first outlet in Kolkata assumes significance as the Forward Bloc-controlled Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) board had refused to issue a fresh licence to the wholesale major a few months ago. Later, it agreed to give the nod after placing certain conditions.

Metro will sell products to only those traders who have APMC licences. Though it can purchase from private markets or regulatory marketing committees, it has to pay 1 per cent market fee while selling the produce. Other conditions include a bar on contract farming with farmers and only following the business-to-business model with traders. Also, in case of a legal dispute, it must be sorted out in a court of law within the state.

The German wholesale major has already trained 350 people to work in its outlet. According to its officials, the wholesale centres are open exclusively for business customers, all of them duly registered and provided with customer identification cards.

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First Published: Thu, December 04 2008. 00:00 IST