Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal asked the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to bestow “serious attention” to the Ladhowal food park project and ensure its early completion. She said that the Punjab government had delayed the project by two years and deprived farmers and youth of its benefits.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Union minister said that the mega food park was approved by her ministry in 2015 with a grant in aid of Rs 50 crore out of which Rs 35 crore had been released to Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC), which was the implementing agency.
She added that the project had a completion deadline of 2018 but the poor planning and slow decision making of the Congress government had resulted in frequent changes in the project components due to which PAIC had missed target timelines repeatedly for completion of the project.
Harsimrat Badal, who was replying to the letter from the Chief Minister requesting for the release of the fourth and final installment of the Ministry of food processing industry grant for the project, informed the Captain Amarinder that he was not updated about the correct position of the project. She said that contrary to the information provided by the Punjab government, only four units were operational at the Park.
The Union minister added that the progress of implementation was also reviewed by the Additional Secretary of the food processing ministry and it was noted that the major facilities had not been made operational. She said it was reported that the cold storage was lying unused for over a year due to the delay in providing electricity connection and generator. She said similarly the Silos had been completed but were lying unutilized for the last many months.
Harsimrat Badal said as per the PAIC the cold storage was under testing and would be operational only by April end this year. PAIC also informed that the setting up of blast freezer was incomplete and the tenders for the RTE (Ready to Eat) line had not even been awarded till yet, she said. Similarly, the process of procuring equipment for basic food testing laboratory was yet to start, she added.