Keventer Agro has sought a year’s time from the ministry of food processing industries to explore a “back-up plan” in case the state government fails to hand over land in Banka also.
M.K. Jalan, chairman, Keventer Agro, which was to set up a Rs 150-crore mega food park in Kahalgaon, on Thursday claimed he was hopeful that the project would see the light of the day as their “plan was working”. The Kahalgaon project has been put on hold as the government could not hand over land to the Calcutta-based company.
“The government has promised to provide us 100 acres in Banka. However, we have not been able to get its physical possession. In such a case, we are working on a back-up plan, which has yielded success too. We have got positive response from the landowners and are hopeful that we will get the land. Our team is working on arranging land by ourselves. We have had talks with the Centre about this also and there are good chances that the project might get a year’s extension. We hope that the project comes up in the state itself,” Jalan added.
Once Keventer backed out of Kahalgaon after years of problems because of protests by landowners, the government had earlier this month proposed to set up the food park across 100 acres in Bounsi subdivision of Banka district. But the land in Banka also has problems. Sources said the government had paid compensation for only 55 acres to the farmers and landowners. Moreover, only 80 per cent of the compensation has been given until now.
Infrastructure Development Authority (IDA), a sister concern of Biada, had been given the responsibility of the acquiring 100 acres.
Sources said the company had doubts about the Banka land. “The land can very well pose the same problems for them as in Kahalgaon. The company is looking for 80 to 120 acres of continuous land and interested people should come up with a plan,” a senior official said.
However, those in the ministry are hardly excited. “There is an inter-ministerial approval committee, which decides upon extensions being given on delayed projects. It is done on merit. The delay of the Kahalgaon Food Park has drawn a lot of flak with the ministry facing a lot of criticism when it comes to audit and expenditure,” Niraj Kumar Gayagi, director, ministry of food processing industries, said.
Sources in the ministry said an extension of the project would not be possible.