Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the holistic development of the border and Kandi region of the state, as he laid the foundation stone of a Rs 800 crore integrated, state-of-the-art plant of M/S Varun Beverages Limited here.The Chief Minister, who felicitated the people on Parkash Utsav of ninth Master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji, described the project as a stepping stone for the region’s development, for which his government was striving through various industrial and economic initiatives and incentives.The Chief Minister disclosed that in line with its thrust on the state’s industrial development, his government had so far inked 144 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 3700 crore with several companies.Spread over 41.4 Acres, the plant, to be built in two phases, will provide direct and indirect employment to nearly 2000 people, thus giving a major boost to the economic activity in the region and also vitalize the local supplier/vendor base, the Chief Minister pointed out.To be operational in 12 months, this will be the first integrated Dairy, Juice and carbonated soft drinks plant in the country, which will use Fresh milk from local milk farmers, Juice from citrus fruits mostly grown in Punjab under Pepsi guidance, and concentrate made by Pepsi in Punjab at Channo, thus benefitting the local farmers and industry. At least 10,000 farmers would be benefitted by supplying milk for the plant, leading to augmentation of their income, he said, adding that similarly, litchi and citrus growers of the region would also gain through the prioject.
Recalling his old association with PepsiCo, the Chief Minister said that during his previous regime he had roped in Tropicana to give boost to agriculture diversification in the state. He said that several plants were tested in citrus but the ambitious project was shelved by the Akalis once they came to power.Lok Sabha MP and state Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar said that the plant would act as a game changer by providing employment opportunities for the youth in the border region. He said that this was a red letter day in the history of the district, which had got two major projects in the form of the airport and this plant.The MP said that Captain Amarinder government had brought more investment into the state in one year than had been brought by the Akalis during their decade-long rule, despite the numerous industrial summits they had organized.Prominent amongst others present on the occasion were MLAs Anil Vij and Joginder Pal, Assistant Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Girish Dyalan, Deputy Commissioner Neelima, Senior Superintendent of Police VS Soni, Ravi Jaipuria, Varun Jaipuria and others.