Alleges a raw deal by KMC,puts on hold Rs 2,000 cr agro-retail plan
After the pullout by the Tata Motors and DLF,the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has now put its Rs 2,000-crore agro-retail plans in the state on hold following problems with Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC),which was to sign a lease agreement with the RIL for the renovation of Park Circus market after accepting an advance payment two years back.
The RIL had won the bid to renovate the dilapidated Park Circus market and paid around Rs 31 crore as advance for the project to the KMC. But the civic body now says its facing stiff resistance in removing the traders who are occupying the market currently.
Also,the KMC has now allegedly inserted a new clause in the lease agreement saying the RIL would not be allowed to engage in agro-retail trade in the renovated market,a condition RIL says was not there in the tender document.
A senior RIL official said there was no such clause mentioned in the tender document that was floated two years ago.
We are not supposed to sign the lease agreement with these kinds of clauses that we cannot sell farm produce in the market. If the civic body does not want any company to do agro-retail trade,it should have mentioned these clauses in the tender document, he said.
We have suspended all our plans and do not expect much from the state. Several crores have been stuck in the state as no retail project is rolling out here. Our company is not interested any more to invest in the state, added the official.
Meanwhile,the KMC is in a fix after the company expressed its unwillingness to sign the agreement with the new clause.
Two years after accepting the advance amount,the civic body has been unable to convince the traders to relocate.
We are still trying to convince the company not to opt for agro-retail in the renovated Park Circus market. But the firm is yet to accept this. The negotiation process is still on, said Sahidul Islam,joint municipal commissioner.
On the other hand,the states Agricultural Marketing Board has ruled out giving a licence to the RIL for agro-retail trade.
We have a clear stand. We will not allow any private player to enter the agro-retail trade in the state. We did not allow Reliance Fresh to open their outlet in the state. We do not care even if the company pulls out from the state. We will not give trade licence to the company if it sells farm produce, said Mortaza Hossain,the minister for agriculture marketing.
According to the RIL official,the present scenario in the state has affected the companys Rs 2,000-crore agro-retail plan.
Its Reliance Fresh stores had to e closed down after protests from the Forward Bloc and Trinamool Congress.