Malda food park cut a sorry figure

MALDA: Even subsidizing the price of land could not break the jinx of Food Park at Malda. Even after ten years of its inception, there are handful of takers for making any food processing unit at the Food Park. While ten plots are still unsold, the sold ones too cut a sorry figure, with no sign of setting up production units on them. Worse, the recurring huge electricity bills has become a burden for the government with bills running upto Rs 1.5 lakhs. The blame game between the entrepreneurs and the administration has been a regular phenomenon.

The food park was inaugurated back in 2005 on a 38.12 acre of land beside the National Highway-34 by the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. The park had 35 plots that were sold to the entrepreneurs for setting up food processing units. But so far only 3 units are running —Metro Dairy, Chira mill and a unit of packaged drinking water. Apart from these plots there were 4 shades. So far 25 plots were procured by different firms but none of them ventured to make any unit here. The shades too remained unsold. The entire area looks deserted and has become the hub of antisocial activities.

Jayanta Kundu, President of Malda Merchant Chamber of Commerce,said “Those who took plots are not getting any help from the govt. Banks are most reluctant to issue loan, even the market is not ready. We had several meetings with the state government in this regard but the disgusted entrepreneurs are not approaching to make industry and invest here. They are even ready to return their lands to the govt.”

Though Sharad Dwibedi, District Magistrate, claimed that the State government has extended full co-operation for setting up the units, “Still why the industrialists are not approaching is best known to them”, DM said. He also informed that the state has decided to take back the plots lying idle. Already four such firms were served notice in this regard.

Minister in Charge of Food Processing and Horticulture Krishnendu Choudhury felt that the problem lay in the lack of awareness of the traders. “The traders had no idea that in the land of food park only food processing units should be made. The previous government did not help the industrialists in this regard. Naturally many firms had left the land abandoned”. He said that this government has lowered the price of the plots in food park in order to lure more players. Unlike the earlier price of Rs 1.5 crore per acre, the price was lowered to Rs 45 lakh per acre.

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