Delhi may become first state to have Walmart store

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 09, 2012 18:09 hrs

New Delhi: Delhi may soon become the first city in the country to have global retail chains like Walmart and Tesco, with the city government all set bring a bill in the Winter session of assembly beginning on Tuesday to remove hurdles in ensuring "effective" implementation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

The city government will bring an amendment to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act for facilitating direct purchase of produce from farmers by multi-national retailers.

The amendment to the existing legislation will allow direct connectivity between retailers and farmers.

As per the existing provision, farmers cannot sell their produce directly to retailers as it has to be routed through the wholesale market which is mostly under the grip of middlemen.

Officials said the amendment to APMC Act was required to "break monopoly" of the wholesale traders so that retailers could directly buy agricultural produce from farmers.

To break the monopoly of the Azadpur mandi, considered to be one of the largest fruit and vegetable wholesale markets in Asia, the government is also considering allowing private market yards for marketing of farm produce.

The official said the amendment bill has already been drafted and it will be examined by the Cabinet in a day or two.

"The bill is likely to be tabled in the Winter session of the House," said Mukesh Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Ms Dikshit, who has been strongly backing the Centre's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, said it will be implemented in the city by early next year.

Officials said the government was considering setting up a wholesale market in Tikri Khud area in West Delhi where it has around 72 acres of land. They said the government is likely to allow foreign retail giants to set up shop in the area.

Ascertain Walmart's plans in Tamil Nadu: DMK

While Delhi gets ready to welcome the big players, Walmart finds itself in the middle of a political discussion in Tamil Nadu with the DMK looking at the prospects of it and AIADMK completely ruling out FDI in the state.

Having voted in favour of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail in parliament -- despite voicing its opposition to the measure -- the DMK on Sunday asked the Tamil Nadu government to ascertain Walmart's plans in Tamil Nadu and take appropriate action.

In a statement issued here, DMK president M.Karunanidhi said there is information about Walmart setting up a commercial complex at Vanagaram on the city outskirts on seven acres and a marketing office in the state.

Karunanidhi said there is also information that Walmart is approaching small grocers for enrolling them as its members with a promise of selling their products at low rates.

"If this news is true, then there might be entry of FDI in retail," he said.

Karunanidhi said company officials maintain that they are not in retail trade but in wholesale trade selling to retailers.

He hoped the state government would look into the veracity of the news and take necessary action.

The US retail chain has a joint venture with India's Bharti group - Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt. Ltd., operating cash and carry wholesale format stores.

The ruling AIADMK government is opposed to FDI in retail and has voted against it in parliament.

Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa has categorically said her government will not permit FDI in retail sector in Tamil Nadu.

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