The Telegraph
Saturday , February 15 , 2014
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Hurdles over, food park project rolls

Patna, Feb. 14: The Rs 150-crore Keventer Mega Food Park is inching towards reality, finally.

The project, one among the biggest in the state in food processing, had started on a right note three years back but hit a dead end owing to the state government’s inability to provide acquired land.

It would now come up on an 80-acre plot near Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur with Calcutta-based Keventer Agro having bought the land.

“The land bought is private. The plot is in Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district and the agreement with farmers is complete. The registration process is on. Construction would begin from early next month (March). The project is back on track and the company has bought land by itself,” said M.K. Jalan, the chairman of Keventer Agro.

Sources said the state government had helped towards exemption of stamp duty for the project.

“According to the state’s industrial incentive policy, the government gives grants and exemptions on stamp duty for projects. The same has been given for this project too. The ministry of agriculture and food processing, which had floated tenders for the setting up of 10 food parks across the country, including the one in Bihar, has pushed the deadline for the start of the project to February 28. The deadline has been pushed back earlier too. The ministry had warned that the project would be cancelled if the construction work did not start by the deadline. But now, we hope that things would start,” said a source associated with the project.

The Centre had floated tenders for setting up 10 food parks in 2006 across the country under which the Keventer Group bagged the tender to set up a mega food park in Bihar, a first for the state.

Search for land began in 2007 and Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) allotted 80 acres for the project in Kahalgaon.

Biada acquired 400 acres in Kahalgaon for the Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) of which 80 acres were earmarked for the food park.

The Keventer Group announced in 2011 that the food park would be developed in partnership with the Future Group at an investment of Rs 200 crore.

However, the state government faced protests from farmers, which saw many investors scheduled to set up their units in the IGC to back out. On August 14, 2013, Keventer also pulled out of the IGC in Kahalgaon.

With work expected to start by March first week, it would take at least a year-and-a-half for the completion of the project.

“The sad part lies that the Keventer Mega Food Park was to become the first food park in the state. However, land issues resulting in multiple delays did let that happen,” the source added.

On February 7, the Noida-based Amrapali Group started the operations of its Rs 400-crore Mega Food Park in Buxar district. Company officials said another food processing unit would come up in Katihar. “The company will lay the foundation stone of the Rs 25-crore food processing unit in Katihar on February 16,” said an official of the Amrapali Group.

The Delhi-based Pristine Logistics and Infraprojects Private Limited is constructing its Mega Food Park at Mansi in Khagaria district. Company officials said the Rs 150-crore project was expected to start operations by mid-2015.