With regular industry coming to stagnation across the state, the idea of promoting food processing industry has given a new hope to the business community, especially in Ludhiana, where a mega food park has been proposed after Harsimrat Kaur Badal took over the reins of union ministry of food processing.
The industry says that a lot of research on the topic needs to be done, so that more and more people are benefitted. Buoyed with his daughter-in-law making it to the union ministry, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced a food park in Laddowal area of Ludhiana that has encouraged industry.
Business leaders say that the food processing industry, if promoted in the state properly, will not only provide employment to thousands of youths, but will also generate a lot of funds for the state. They, however, say that taxes on processed food should be reduced so that a spirit of competition could be induced in the business community.
Upkar Singh Ahuja, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU) said, “The industry hopes better ment of the food processing in Punjab, as the MP from the state has made it to the union ministry.”
We are hopeful that now the food processing industry will get encouragement and special packages. However, some research needs to be done in the field. Either multi-national companies should be encouraged to come here and invest in the industry, or farmers should be provided equipment, so that they can process their produce themselves,” said Upkar Singh.
Singh said Punjab had around 11% share of the production of food grain in India. “The state meets 85% seed potato requirement in India. Punjab is leading producer of milk with daily production of 26 million litres,” he said.
Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday evening approved the proposal of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation to establish a Mega Food Park at Laddowal over an area of 100 acres.
Kitty Industries managing director Ramesh Mago said while such initiatives by the state gover nment were welcomed, they should also reduce taxes on processed food.
“Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise duty on biscuits makes them costly. The issue of taxes on the processed items should to be addressed,” said Mago.
On the other hand, Ajay Bector one of the owners at Mrs Bector’s Cremica Group, said under the new industrial policy of the state government, there were many concessions for food processing industry.
“There is a huge scope for the industry. This industry is new to the sate and could do wonders if supported by the state and central government,” he said.
Most of the industries in the state are doing an average business due to the overall financial crunch. Experts say if the state government is supported by the union ministry of food processing, Punjab will soon get a new industry in which people will be ready to invest.
Experts also say that the food processing industry was so far shying away from coming to the state, despite all natural resources present here.
Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII) president Badish Jindal, who is also vice-chair man of the National Growth Council, said, “The economy of Punjab is completely de pendent on wheat and rice that should now be diverted to other industries as well. Harsimrat Badal taking charge of such a ministry could bring back Punjab on the track of progress and prosperity.”
He said multi-national companies could come to the state if there was a scope of processing raw crops here.
“Juices, chocolates and even milk products are imported from other countries even, as we have a great potential. I believe that Punjab will wake up to the dawn of a new type of industry,” said Jindal.