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HPMC needs private sector participation: Jairam

Written by: Staff

Shimla, Apr 11 (UNI) Union Minister for State and Commerce Jairam Ramesh today called for private sector participation in marketing and processing of HPMC products, saying this is necessary to improve its functioning.

''Inspite of its 30 year head start over the other companies, it had not emerged a market leader, which is disappointing,'' he said at a press conference after his two-hour long meeting with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here.

Mr Ramesh said private sector participation would help in better marketing of its products, bring in new technology and establish new cold storages, streamlining and improving the HPMC's functioning.

The state government should invite global tenders for private sector participation in 49:51 ratio, he said, adding ideally it should be in the 50:50 ratio.

However, the problem with this was that then the private sector would not take keen interest, he said.

''You have to give them a bit extra so that they come forward and invest here so it has to be in the 49 per cent in the government sector and 51 per cent in the private sector.'' The Union Minister assured that no one from the company's 500 employees would be retrenched after a joint venture with a private sector company.

HPMC's products were available in various parts of the country and in some airlines till a few years ago, before vanishing from the market, he said. ''Marketing and new technology could easily turn around its fortunes.''

Assuring all possible financial help to the state in switching over to organic farming of apples, he said the centre would help HPMC grow as an export oriented company. Mr Ramesh said apples would also be included in the ''special product category'', which would help in fixing the quota of import of apples from other China.

While China was producing 230 million tonne of apples per year, India was producing only 20 million tonne of apple crop, he said.

Expressing satisfaction over the apple's import condition in the country, he said only four apples out of a total of 100 were imported as up till now apples were only imported from Australia and New Zealand.

However, the situation would turn worse with Chinese apples flooding the Indian markets, he said, adding that's why the centre was keen on including apples in the ''special product category''.


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