HALCON Cargo facility will benefit farmers: Defence Minister

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Nashik, Mar 15 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said the opening of the HALCON Cargo facility will benefit farmers from the region as it will help in transporting agricultural products to all corners of the nation and the world.

''I am sure that farmers from the region will benefit from this initiative. However, it is now upto the farmers to come forward and make optimum use of the joint expertise of HAL and CONCOR,'' the Minister said in his inaugural address at the inland Container Depot and Air Cargo Complex, a joint endeavour of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and CONCOR at Ojhar in Dindori taluka.

The HALCON facility, set up by HAL and CONCOR, a leading provider of multimodal logistics support under the Ministry of Railways, with grants for development of infrastructure by Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA), will be centred around the development of direct regular freighter and aircraft movement from/to Ojhar airport. An 'Air Cargo Complex' (ACC), with a centre for perishable commodities (CPC) and an inland container depot (ICD) will be also constructed.

The facility would cater to cargos originating from Western, North Western and West Central regions, apart from Nashik and surrounding regions.

''The estimated volume of air and sea cargo combined will be more than two lakh metric tonnes. It is expected to generate a revenue of more than Rs 20 crore per annum,'' the Minister said.

''Today goods must be sent from one destination to another in the shortest possible time. The present system of sending agricultural produce is time-consuming, thereby adversely affecting the quality of the products and increasing its cost,'' he observed.

The construction of an Air Cargo Complex with a Centre for perishable commodities and an inland container depot will facilitate custom clearance of EXIM traffic.

PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Harishchandra Chavan, Secretary Defence Production, Pradeep Kumar, HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja, MIG Complex Managing Director K P Puri, and CONCOR CMD Rakesh Malhotra were present on the occasion.

Bhujbal requested the Defence Minister to permit civil flights from Gandhinagar airport.

Mr Malhotra announced that CONCOR is planning to set up a steel cargo hub in collaboration with HAL.

Nashik has many Agricultural Export Zones and major industrial areas producing auto components apart from electrical and engineering goods. EXIM trade in Nashik is currently estimated to be of more than 53,000 TEUs (Twenty Equal Units) per year by sea and in excess of 10,000 MT/per year by Air, with volumes rapidly growing.


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