Walmart and Tesco may face hurdles in 28 cities

New Delhi: Global chains like Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco may face problems in opening stores in over half of the 53 cities eligible for FDI in multi-brand retail.

The parties and alliances ruling in 11 major states with 28 cities, have strongly opposed the decision of the Central government to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail which is dominated by small traders.

According to 2011 Census, there are 28 cities in 11 states ruled by the parties opposed to the decision. These include big cities like Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Patna, Allahabad and Bhopal which have over one million population, the threshold set by Cabinet while approving FDI in retail.

Excluding Punjab, BJP and NDA rule in eight states, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh.

While the Centre has permited FDI in retail, it is up to the states to grant trade licences under their respective shops and establishment Acts. BJP indicated that states where the party is in power may not permit foreign stores.

Asked specifically, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said "not only the BJP-ruled states but even states where Congress is in power should oppose them."

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has vehemently opposed Friday decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail saying "it will ruin the retailers and lead to a point of unemployment".

The parties which have aired their resentment include BSP ruling in Uttar Pradesh, Trinamool Congress – West Bengal and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.