Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday addressed the media on cold chain projects. She said that “101 cold chains are Baisakhi bumper for our nation’s farmers as these will play a vital role in providing better prices to them.” These cold chains will reduce wastage, increase farmer income, create employment and ensure year-round availability of fruits and vegetables, she added. “These 101 cold chains are part of a movement for zero tolerance for food wastage,” she quipped.
Meanwhile yesterday she told FE Bureau that the government is coming up with a scheme—SAMPADA. “Through technology, we are working to map the clusters, such as chilli cluster, marine cluster, etc, throughout the country and map the infrastructure available for storage and processing. Then, in a targeted fashion, we will give out contracts whenever we want to build more cold chains, depending on the requirements of the area. The idea is to create a cold chain grid, a processing grid, a lab grid (where the quality of food items can be tested), etc.”
When asked how do you compare your tenure vis-a-vis your UPA predecessors, she said “Look at the two flagship schemes—mega food parks and cold chains. These schemes started in 2008. A total of 42 mega food parks were sanctioned by the UPA, which were supposed to be ready in 24 months. But when I took over in 2014, only two parks were operationalised. At least 17 of them didn’t have a brick and one of them happened to be in a VIP constituency (Amethi) where only three months before the elections, the inauguration stone was laid. So, only two parks were set up in the six years of the UPA, while we have already got six parks operational and another four are ready for inauguration. So, in three years, we have 10 mega food parks. Similarly, only 37 of the 97 cold chains that were earlier sanctioned were set up during the UPA regime; we have set up 60 in just three years.”