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Food Park Hopelessly Running Behind Schedule

With half-baked works like this, falling behind schedule is a given. Image Credit: The Sangai Express.

IMPHAL, Jan 9: Nilakuthi Food Park Project, a project assigned for execution to the State Government by the Centre through funding by a reputed financial institution is unlikely to be completed in time as infra-structure development is lagging far behind schedule.

Construction activities of the Project, which is located near Koirengei in Imphal East district, had commenced with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) providing a sum of Rs 13 crores in March 2007 and was supposed to be completed within December 2008.

As the deadline lapsed and the said project remained incomplete, Government of Manipur approached Planning Commission of India resulting in a favorable response from the PCI with the sanctioning of Rs 326 lakhs under Special Plan Assistance (SPA) for utilization during the 2009-2010 fiscal.

With the current financial year set to lapse in March this year but construction works still at a nascent stage, as spotted when this reporter scoured the Project site, it is highly unlikely that initiative of the Centre for infrastructure development of industrial growth in the State would materialize in the near future.

Information has been received that with the PCI ruling out further funding under SPA, the State Government has approached Ministry of Food Processing Industries for more financial assistance.

In case it is completed, the project would provide facilities such as Tetra packaging unit, Oleoresins and Spice Oil plants, integrated mushroom packaging unit, and processing units for passion fruit, bamboo shoots and pineapple.

Moreover, the Project plans to have a common amenities block for entrepreneurs and investors in addition to warehouse, workshop and cold storage facilities.

An informed source disclosed that the Project is being implemented by one Ms C&DS UP Jal Nigam based in Noida under the State’s Commerce and Industries Department.

During the course of investigation it also came to light that in June 2010, Manipur Food Industries Corporation had sent utilization certificate to the PCI wherein it was clearly mentioned that inspite of the SPA allocation of Rs 326 lakhs already exhausted the Project has not been completed.

Even though from a distance, the Project seem to be ready for activation,  on the spot inspection revealed that only the exterior portions of four blocks merit completed-tag, two are under construction while only base construction works of some other smaller blocks are taking place.

Moreover, grasses have grown over all the sprawling project site where boulders and stone chips are scattered and only the poles for street lighting were found erected.

An overhead water storage tank, considered an important component of the Project, is far from complete while construction of a link bridge is yet to be taken up with similar condition regarding electrification works.

When contacted an informed source revealed that department concerned has released funds to other sister departments such as Works Department, PHED, Power and IFCD to undertake bridge, canal and water connectivity, riverbank reconstruction and electrification works.

The source accused delay on the part of the said sister departments for the Project staring at uncertainty as to when the Project would actually benefit the State.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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