Punjab to have first mega food park
Chandigarh, Apr 11: The first agro-based mega food park of the country will be set up in Punjab with the help of an Italian Consortium, Union Minister of State Subodh Kant Sahai said today.
The initial investment in the project would be 100 milliion dollars, Mr Sahai said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on Emerging Opportunities and Challenges in Food Sector organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
A joint study group, comprising reprentatives from the Centre, Punjab government and ASSOCHAM, had been constituted to give a report within six to eight weeks on the proposed Food Park.
ASSOCHAM President Anil K Agarwal said the chamber would play the role of facilitator in setting up half as dozen agro-processing industrial parks in Punjab, with an approximate investment of Rs 1000 crore.
He said the proposed food park would be set up over 100 acre of land for which consultation was on with the Punjab government.
Mr Agarwal said ASSOCHAM has already signed a MoU with an Italian Consortium which will bring in technology for setting up the food park.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Food Management would be set up in Kundli in Haryana, with an investment of Rs 300 crore, Mr Sahai said. The Institue, which would provide trained manpower for the food processing industry, would start functioning shortly, he said. The Minister said the Integrated Food Law, which has already been introduced in Parliament, would hopefully be passed in its next session.
The law would provide a consolidated regulatory framework for the food processing industry in place of the existing multiple laws and end the ''Inspector Raj'', he said.
Mr Sahai said the Centre planned to raise the food industry target to Rs 1,00,00 lakh crore in the coming five to ten years.
He said North India comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir was going to be the hub of the food processing sector in the future.
Earlier Punjab Finance Minister demanded a special package for the agriculture sector in the state which had borne the negative impact of the green revolution in terms of depletion of ground water and decline in the soil quality.
Mr Sahai said he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who would form an action plan in this regard.