Expression of interest to be floated soon for Bengal food park: Mitra

Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) The central government would soon float an expression of interest for setting up a mega food park in West Bengal, state Industry Minister Amit Mitra said on Friday.

“The centre will issue an EoI very soon for setting up the mega food park. We are in touch with the centre and have requested it to float it at the earliest,” Mitra said on the sidelines of a event organised by industry chamber CII.

A minimum 50 acres of contiguous land would be required for the food park but Mitra said this would be no problem. “There is no land issue, we have enough land in industrial park,” the minister pointed out.

He informed that one of the major players, which is likely to bid for the project after the issuance of expression of interest, has already visited a site that had 62 acres of contiguous land in the state.

Mitra also said the country’s largest dairy firm Amul was going to invest about Rs.200 crore in a food park at East Midnapore district’s Kharagpur.

Hailing the huge potential of the food processing industry in Bengal, the minister said the sector was likely to be a bridge between agriculture and industry.

The state grows 22 percent of the country’s total potato production, and provides 20 percent of the nation’s brinjal, cauliflower and cabbage output.

West Bengal is aiming to increase the state’s share of pineapple production to 25 percent as against the 13 percent it grows now, said Mitra, promising to make Bengal the country’s pineapple processing hub.

A report on “Developing the food processing industry in West Bengal”, jointly prepared by CII and KPMG, stated that the sector could generate employment of around over 2 lakhs between 2017-2022.

The minister claimed that an additional revenue of about Rs.31,000 crore could be generated from the food processing sector over the next 3-5 years.

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