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 FDI in multi-brand retail.

The city government will bring an amendment to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee 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 in 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 would 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 would 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.

In the present system, the farmers have to first approach the government wholesale markets such as Azadpur, Okhla and Shahadra, which are in the stranglehold of the middlemen. The middlemen buy farm produce at cheaper rates and supply them to the market for much higher price.

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Free Press Journal