New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) Promoters of cold chain projects on Wednesday demanded that the government should provide subsidy on power tariff as they are facing cash crunch because of the nationwide lockdown.
The demand was made by cold chain promoters during an interaction via video conferencing with Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The minister emphasised the importance of food processing enterprises, especially the Integrated Cold Chain Network, in the present uncertain and evolving circumstances in view of the COVID pandemic, an official statement said.
This network saves the farmers from uncertain circumstances and also facilitates stabilization of market prices, it added.
The food processing industry has the potential to absorb the excess farm produce, thereby benefiting the farmers and at the same time, convert the harvest into a value added processed product that can meet the domestic as well as the global demand, the statement said.
Minister of State for Food Processing Rameswar Teli was also present at the video conferencing with the promoters of completed integrated cold chain projects supported by the Union Food Processing Ministry in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.
The promoters of 38 cold chain projects across five states participated in the deliberation and shared their experience gained and problems faced in completing the projects, the official statement said.
Further, the promoters also shared hardships and problems faced in running the cold chain projects during the lockdown period.
They expressed concerns about the decision of the local government authorities to limit the hours of operations of mandis to avoid overcrowding, saying this has affected procurement operations.
The issue of hike in freight cost by 30 per cent and its impact on exports was raised by them.
Citing the low domestic demand amidst the pandemic, the industry representatives from the cold chain sector unanimously pitched for subsidy in the power tariffs.
'They urged that a cold store needs to function 24/7 and the plant compressors cannot be shut at any point of time,' the statement said. PTI MJH MKJ