Punjab CM inaugurates ITC integrated food processing facility in Kapurthala

Amarinder pointed out that the ITC project would bring new seeds and techniques which would enable the farmers produce potatoes that would find a ready market.

punjab Updated: Dec 14, 2017 20:58 IST
Press Trust of India, Kapurthala
Amarinder Singh,Punjab farmers,ITC
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh inaugurating ITC’s new integrated food manufacturing and logistics facility at Kapurthala on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday inaugurated ITC’s new integrated food manufacturing and logistics facility at Kapurthala, giving a fillip to the state’s food processing sector and strengthening its beleaguered economy.

The facility will also have a ‘wheat mandi’ unit to procure grains from farmers, besides other FMCG units.

Spread over 72 acres of land, with an initial investment of Rs 1,500 crore, the facility will manufacture ITC’s popular food brands such as ‘Aashirvaad’, ‘Bingo!’, ‘Sunfeast’, ‘YiPPee!’ and ‘B Natural’, among others.

Besides supporting farmers, the project will help generate employment in the state, said the chief minister at the inauguration ceremony.

The facility is part of the company’s plans to open 20 such food processing units pan India with an investment of Rs 10,000 crore.

Despite the record contribution of the state to the nation’s rice and wheat production, Captain Amarinder underlined the need for diversification, in which the ITC project would play an important role.

The facility would help the farming community transition from the traditional wheat-crop cycle to more lucrative crops, the chief minister said, adding such projects would be instrumental not only in saving the state’s crunched fertile land and water resources but also in boosting farm income.

Referring to the plight of potato farmers, who were forced to dump their produce on the roads because of their inability to sell it at a good price, Captain Amarinder stressed the need to end the crisis with projects like this.

He pointed out that the ITC project would bring new seeds and techniques which would enable the farmers produce potatoes that would find a ready market.

The plant, which would purchase wheat, potatoes and other crops from the region, would bring to the state the much-needed revenue, he said hoping that the ITC Group would also expand its hotels in Punjab.

Earlier, dedicating the facility to the people of Punjab, ITC CEO Sanjiv Puri said the company would make the most of the new industrial policy, with its favourable provisions, to expand in Punjab.

The ease of doing business in the state, under the new regime, was evident, he said, adding that the government interventions in the industry policy will go a long way in making Punjab an industrial hub.

He said the ‘mandi’ being set up within the facility will ensure on-the-spot payments, and will also enhance sourcing of milk and other products.

“The grains would be weighed electronically with payment on the spot without handling charges so the farmers would also save about 2 per cent,” Puri told PTI.

The facility will add significant value to the state’s agricultural potential as the food processing sector, being at the intersection of agriculture, industry and services, can make a multi-dimensional contribution to the State’s economy by enhancing the competitiveness of the food value chain.

This is the third of the five plants ITC is setting up in the complex, with the remaining two also expected to become operational by March next year.

Once completed, the entire facility will be spread over 1.5 million square feet area, making it the largest in the country.

In line with new industrial and business development policy 2017, the state government will provide all the fiscal incentives available for anchor units to ITC, which will include 100 per cent reimbursement of net SGST for 15 years.

The tobacco-to-hotels firm, which is focusing more on its non-tobacco businesses, aims to be a Rs 1 lakh crore company in the FMCG space by 2030, with the packaged foods contributing Rs 65,000 crore.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 17:59 IST