Specttrum News (Kulbir Singh Kalsi): Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the first of its kind Rs 136 Crore Mega International Food Park at Dabwala Kalan in Fazilka District of Punjab in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday.
Inaugurating the food park, which is among the fourth such parks in the country, the Union Minister gave a clarion call for establishment of more food processing units to reduce the huge food wastage worth Rs 45,000 crores in the country.
"This is just the beginning. The Ministry has succeeded in promoting International Food Park by extending a subsidy of Rs 50 crore. In the near future you will see many more parks and food processing units coming up in the State", she said while addressing a public gathering on the occasion.
Giving details of forthcoming projects in Punjab, Smt Badal said ITC was coming up with a Rs 1,000 crore food park in Kapurthala.
"We are also promoting establishment of a cold chain for which we are giving a subsidy of Rs 10 crore besides creation of modern processing centres for milk, fruits and vegetables", she added.
Urging farmers to add value to their crops, she said they could also form small self-help groups for this purpose. Making out a case for diversifying from paddy cultivation, Smt Badal said the need of the hour was to add value to fruits and vegetables grown in Punjab.
Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "Diversification would become a reality with creation of more food parks including the one coming up in Kapurthala."
Mr Badal lauded the food park promoters for providing more than 700 jobs to local youth and said more youngsters would be employed in the park once other companies also establish their units in the 55 acre facility.
The 55 acre food park has come up at a cost of Rs 136 crore having facilities for processing milk and milk products besides packaging vegetables and fruits.