six years later, packaging centre still in dream

Packaging unit elusive
Guwahati, Sept. 13: Six years have passed by and a central packaging centre to provide modern packaging facilities for the existing and the upcoming processing units in the Northeast still remains a distant dream.
The project was first conceived in 2003-04 by the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (Neramac). The Indian Institute of Packaging under the ministry of commerce which offers post-graduate diploma in packaging is, however, planning to open a satellite centre here by next year. It will initially be involved in imparting training before including laboratory facilities and other services.
“Food processing is often branded a sunrise industry. Though this industry has a bright prospect in the region, there is hardly any infrastructure created for its development as yet. Based on the abundant availability of fruits like pineapple, oranges, passion fruits in the region, food processing has been identified as a thrust industry. There is an urgent need to provide modern packaging facilities for the already existing as well as the upcoming processing units,” a Neramac source said. Neramac has proposed to set up a central packaging centre near Guwahati to provide assistance to the existing small-time food processors and build a common brand name for marketing their products.
The ministry of food processing in 2003-04 said they could provide support up to Rs 4 crore and had asked Neramac to find out other forms of support, but the project has been gathering dust since then. The Agricultural and Processed Food products Export Development Authority had also once showed interest.
A meeting of the non-lapsable central pool of resources committee, under the DoNER ministry held recently in New Delhi, has decided to consider the project for detailed examination. The DPR for the project on a central packaging centre has been prepared and will be sent to state government this week.
The project which was to come up at Guwahati earlier will now come up at Chaygaon in Kamrup, for which Neramac has already requisitioned for a plot of land. The plot of land is 1.5 bighas and in-principle approval has been given for the land.

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