Union minister of textiles KS Rao on Monday said that besides leading in agriculture Punjab should also come forward to take a lead in the textile sector.Rao, who was here to inaugurate the Lotus Integrated Texpark, a textile park, promised all support to the state.
Spread over 100 acres, the park is promoted under the PPP mode by the Trident group. The park under the Integrated Textile Park Policy of the government aims at an investment of Rs. 850 crore.Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP Vijay Inder Singla and Rajinder Gupta, chairman of the Trident group, were present on the occasion.
Rao also announced the Rs. 10-crore Apparel Training and Design Centre, which will train 1,000 people every year as skilled workers for the textile industry, a demand raised by the local MP.
The union minister said, "Punjab has contributed a lot in terms of foodgrains, but the state should take advantage of centrally sponsored schemes for the promotion of the textile industry."
He listed several initiatives of the ministry, like giving rebates, capital subsidy and other benefits to the textile industry, and asked Sukhbir to grab the opportunity.
Agreeing to Sukhbir's demand of a higher MSP for cotton, he said he had remained a votary of farmer issues and would press the Centre for this.
Sukhbir demanded the Centre's support in encouraging diversification in the state to save Punjab from a possible agrarian crisis owing to the fast depleting groundwater level.
Sukhbir said the Malwa belt was the textile hub of the state and there was need to promote good-quality cotton crop for which the Centre should explore the possibility of sanctioning a special research and development centre for the region. He said that with the cotton yield in China and
Israel 10 times that of India there was need for promoting research in the area.Seeking three more textile parks for the state, Sukhbir said the new industrial policy of the state laid special emphasis on the textile sector. He said the state government would ensure a special package for the sector in case the Centre sanctioned three more textile parks.
He also sought an additional investment of Rs. 10 crore as envisaged by the central policy in the existing Lotus Park.
Rajinder Gupta, chairman, Trident Group, said the park set up under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Park (SITP) with an investment outlay of Rs. 850 crore had seven participating units that had commenced production. He said the plant already had a current investment of Rs. 600 crore.
Gupta said it was the first park in north India to have completed all planned units under the SITP scheme. He said the park envisaged to have a total of 10 units of which seven had been approved under the SITP.
Singla urged the minister to clear all pending files of subsidy and investment related to the state textile industry. The minister assured him that that would be done in a week.