UNIDO to survey Punjab to set up food processing clusters

UNIDO to survey Punjab to set up food processing clusters

The Times of India

CHANDIGARH: With “Aman ki Asha” brightening up between India and Pakistan, the United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is getting a survey done in all districts of the border state of Punjab to find out two suitable districts for setting up clusters of food processing industry.

The survey is being conducted by Assocham on behalf of the UN body which has already initiated a process for similar clusters of other industries in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Kerala.

Expenditure for the project will be born by UNIDO, which will also arrange expertise of global scale for giving a push to the food processing industry in the state, which is a success story in agriculture development, Assocham’s secretary general D S Rawat revealed here on Wednesday, after meeting Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and industries minister Anil Joshi.

The state government may have to arrange only the basic infrastructure. Though need for developing the food processing industry was long felt in Punjab, the industry could not really take off in a big way despite multi-national companies like Pepsi setting up food processing units in the country almost a decade ago.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed among UNIDO, Assocham and the government of India for setting up such clusters in India.

This apart, a process has been set in motion to establish 15 new industrial clusters in Punjab with the help of the Central government. Industrial clusters supported by the Central government can reduce cost of production by 15% to 20% due to concessions and common facilities created by the government and the industry, Rawat said. Initially, the industrial body, however, will work for the success of the existing ones that are being run by the industry, with help from the state government.

Rawat revealed that the Planning Commission of India has already included these 15 clusters among 562 planned in the country in the 12th plan appraisal paper. The ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) has to given approval to these 15 industrial clusters.

Chairman of SAARC committee of Assocham, Ravi Gupta, who also met Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to drive home an agenda for improving the investment climate, said, “Punjab cannot overlook this aspect as industries that need to cater to the huge markets of Pakistan, Gulf region and Central Asia may now re-locate to Punjab.”


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