Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday inaugurated ITC’s new state-of-the-art Integrated Food Manufacturing and Logistics Facility at Kapurthala, giving a major fillip to the state’s food processing sector and strengthening its beleaguered economy.Spread over 72 acres of land, with an initial investment outlay of approximately Rs 1,500 crores, the world-class facility will manufacture ITC’s popular food brands, such as ‘Aashirvaad’, ‘Bingo!’, ‘Sunfeast’, ‘YiPPee!’ and ‘B Natural’, among others.Besides supporting the farmers, the project will help generate employment in the state, said the Chief Minister, at the inaugurating ceremony. Despite the record contribution of the state to the nation’s rice and wheat production, Captain Amarinder underlined the need for diversification, in which the ITC project would play an important role.Expressing happiness at the facility, which would help the farming community transition from the traditional wheat-crop cycle to the more lucrative crops, the Chief Minister said such projects would be instrumental not only in saving the state’s crunched fertile land and water resources but also in boosting farm income.Referring to the plight of potato farmers, who were forced to dump their produce on the roads because of their inability to sell it at a good price, Captain Amarinder stressed the need to end the crisis with projects like this.
He pointed out the ITC project would bring new seeds and techniques that would enable the farmers to produce potatoes that would find a ready market.The plant, which would purchase wheat, potatoes and other crops from the region, would bring to the state the much-needed revenue, said the Chief Minister, hoping that the ITC Group would also expand its hotels portfolio in Punjab.Earlier, dedicating the facility to the people of Punjab, ITC CEO Sanjiv Puri said the company received speedy clearances to complete the plant’s construction in record time.Pointing out that ITC was present across various sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing and services, the CEO said the company would make the most of the new industrial policy, with its favourable provisions, to expand in Punjab. The ease of doing business in the state, under the new regime, was evident, he said, adding that the government interventions in the industry policy will go a long way in making Punjab an industrial hub.The facility, which will create large-scale livelihoods across the sustainable agri-value chains, will add significant value to the State’s agricultural potential as the food processing sector, being at the intersection of agriculture, industry and services, can make a multi-dimensional contribution to the State’s economy by enhancing the competitiveness of the food value chain.Puri said the Mandi being set up within the facility will ensure on-the-spot payments, and will also enhance sourcing of milk and other products.
Speaking on the occasion, Power Minister and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh said the government was striving to create employment avenues in the state, as committed by the Chief Minister, who was focused on getting industry to invest in Punjab. The minister said the Mandi in the ITC facility will facilitate mechanical cleaning of grains, which would then be stored in silos.This is the third of the five plants ITC is setting up in the complex, with the remaining two also expected to become operational by March next year. Once completed, the entire facility will be spread over 1.5 million square feet area, making it the largest in the country.In line with New Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017, the State Government will provide all the fiscal incentives available for anchor units to ITC, which will include 100% reimbursement of net SGST for 15 years. It may be noted that the New Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017 of the State has declared food processing as thrust sector and provides various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to investors such as power tariff @ Rs. 5 per unit, reimbursement upto 100% net SGST, 100% exemption from Electricity Duty, Stamp Duty, CLU/EDC exemptions, 100% exemption of all taxes & fees on raw material upto 10 years, exemption from PAPRA.
ITC with its diversified business portfolio, has a growing presence in Punjab. A number of co-manufacturing units have already been set up for producing ITC’s world-class range of food products. ITC subsidiary, Technico, which is the largest producer of early generation seed potato in India, is engaged in extensive agri development programmes in the State.In addition, ITC is making a meaningful contribution to the tourism sector in the State. One property under ITC’s WelcomHeritage brand has opened recently in Amritsar and two more premium hotels under ITC’s WelcomHotel and Fortune brands are on the anvil.Prominent amongst others who werer present on the occasion included Media Advisor to Chief Minister Mr Raveen Thukral, MLAs Mr Navtej Singh Cheema, Mr Ramanjeet Singh Sikki and Mr Amarpal Singh Bhullar, former MLAs Mr Joginder Singh Mann and Mrs Rajbhans Kaur Rana, Chief Secretary Mr Karan Avtar Singh, Secretary Industries Mr Rakesh Verma, Deputy Commissioner Kapurthala Mr Mohammed Tayyab, Inspector General of Police Mr Arpit Shukla, Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr Jaskaran Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police Mr Sandeep Sharma and Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr Rahul Chaba.