Kapurthala (Punjab), Dec 14 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday inaugurated the ITC's new state-of-the-art integrated food manufacturing and logistics facility here, giving a major fillip to the state's food processing sector.
Spread over 72 acres, with an initial outlay of approximately Rs 1,500 crore, the world-class facility will manufacture ITC's food brands.
Besides supporting the farmers, the project would also help generate employment in the state, the Chief Minister said at the inaugural ceremony.
Despite the record contribution of the state to the nation's rice and wheat production, he stressed that there was also a need for diversification, in which the ITC project would play an important role.
Expressing happiness at the facility, which would help the farming community's transition from the traditional wheat-crop cycle to the more lucrative crops, the Chief Minister said such projects would be instrumental not only in saving the state's crunched fertile land and water resources but also in boosting farm income.
Referring to the plight of potato farmers, who were forced to dump their produce on the roads because of their inability to sell it at good prices, Amarinder Singh underlined the need to end the crisis with projects like this.
He said the ITC project would bring new seeds and techniques that would enable the farmers to produce potatoes that would find a ready market.
The plant, which would purchase wheat, potatoes and other crops from the region, would bring to the state the much-needed revenue, said the Chief Minister, hoping that the ITC Group would also expand its hotels portfolio in the state.
Earlier, dedicating the facility to the people of Punjab, ITC CEO Sanjiv Puri said the company received speedy clearances to complete the plant's construction in a record time.
Pointing out that ITC was present across various sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing and services, Puri said the company would make the most of the new industrial policy, with its favourable provisions, to expand in Punjab.