DEHRADUN: Investors were left in a tizzy after the Union ministry of food processing industries has put on hold the proposal of setting up five integrated cold stores in Uttarakhand following ‘miscommunication’ from the state officials.
Agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal said he has written a letter to the Union ministry requesting it to reconsider the decision.
In his communication to the state government on April 19, the union government’s deputy secretary, Atya Nand had mentioned that out of the proposed 101 projects from various states, the ministry has put five projects – four in US Nagar district and one in Haridwar — on hold. He advised promoters not to go for further implementation of the project.
The Union ministry of food processing industries takes decision on the proposals of setting up integrated cold stores in states. If cleared, the promoters get 75% subsidy in the project.
According to sources in the agriculture ministry, parties moved proposals seeking nod for the five integrated cold stores from the ministry last year. In continuation with it, the ministry sought advice from the state.
Sources said that in their reply, officials concerned maintained that the state already had a number of cold stores and therefore there was no need for new ones, thus putting brakes on the entire exercise. Although, additional chief secretary Ranbeer Singh wrote a ‘makeup’ letter to the ministry on March 29 requesting for clearance of the projects, but it was too late.
“I have also written a letter to the ministry and hopefully the ministry will grant nod for the pending projects,” said Uniyal.
At present, there are 39 cold stores in Uttarakhand. With growing demand from the farmers wanting to store their vegetables and fruits, the industry feels there is need for more cold stores in the state. “There is a need for big boost to the agro and horticulture sector in the state. We also need infrastructural facilities to preserve the produce,” said Anil Taneja, regional director, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PHDCCI).
According to PHDCCI, nearly 35-40% fruits and vegetables perish every year due to lack of cold storage facility in the state.