Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday inaugurated a new state-of-the-art tractor production facility, describing it as a major asset for the state’s progress.The chief minister, who rolled out the first tractor, termed the new plant, which had more than doubled the production capacity, as a major achievement for Punjab, which was heavily dependent on agriculture for its growth and development. He lauded the commitment shown by the employees of International Tractors Ltd, and appreciated their contribution to the creation of the world-class facility.The new facility makes International Tractors Ltd., which manufactures the Sonalika brand of tractors in India, the world’s largest integrated tractor plant, with a total capacity of 3 lakh tractors annually.Inspecting the facility, the chief minister appreciated its size and scale, saying Punjab needed such investments and the high-end tractors being manufactured at the plant would be highly beneficial to the state’s farmers, who needed modern equipment to improve their crop yield and quality.The inaugural event was attended by the top management of the company, including Chairman LD Mittal, Vice Chairman Amrit Mittal and Managing Director Deepak Mittal.
On the occasion, the management presented a cheque worth Rs. 1 crore for the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. They also presented a tractor to Captain Amarinder, who gifted the same to Citrus Estate in Chhauni village, which he had earlier visited.International Tractors, which is the 3rd largest tractor company of the country on the basis of the number of tractors sold, employs about 5000 workers directly, while generating indirect employment for another 15000. Promoted by the Mittal family since 1996, the company exports 20% of its production to about 80 countries, including Europe. Yanmar of Japan, a 100-year-old company engaged in the manufacture of engines, tractors and farm equipment, is the technical and financial partner of Sonalika Tractors.In addition to the production of tractors, International Tractors Ltd is engaged in several initiatives for the welfare of the Hoshiarpur region, including cleaning and greening of Hoshiarpur city, running an orphan home, launch of a senior citizen club and a shooting range for girls.To mark the chief minister’s visit, Sonalika has also announced the adoption of Chhauni Kalan village, which it seeks to transform in a world-class village.
Earlier, during his visit to Citrus Estate, the chief minister appreciated the work being done in testing of soil to ensure higher and better crop yield. He also stressed the need for quality testing of soil to provide the minerals essential for yield improvement.Briefing the chief minister, officials at the laboratory, built in 2007 at a cost of Rs. 9.8 crore, requested for budget from the state government to run the laboratories. Currently, they said, there was no budget allocation for the lab, being run with interest earned from the Rs. 5 lakh corpus fund, allocated out of the total construction cost, at the outset. The total current expenses of running the lab, including salaries, has to be managed from this corpus fund, they said, urging the chief minister to provide either a budget or a corpus fund to manage the lab.