Udupi MLA flays govt apathy towards SSIs

Speaking after inaugurating the one-day seminar on “Food processing units and interaction of small scale industries owners of Udupi and Dakshina  Kannada districts,” jointly organised by Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA), Bangalore, Udupi District Small Industries Association, Manipal and District Industries Centre on Wednesday, Bhat said despite several tax benefits and deferment given to major industries in Karnataka, several industries have failed to discharge their social responsibilities or some of the laid down policies, he added.

Quoting the examples of West Coast Paper Mill in Dandeli  and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) in Mangalore, where he had visited heading the team of  the committee, Bhat said that in spite of several benefits availed by the government, the paper mill unit in Dandeli has failed to discharge its social responsibilities. The responsibilities were shown only on papers and absolutely there is no benefit to the local people who have scarified their land or to the society.

He stressed that in the name of providing various benefits to the major industries, small industries should not be discouraged or neglected. Encouragement with proper benefits should be given to small scale industries sector to flourish, he said and added that serious thought should also be given to explore the opportunities in the horticulture and food processing as Udupi district has been identified as special zone by the government for food processing units, he said.

Deep displeasure

Speaking on the occasion, KASSIA President Prakash N Raikar expressed his deep displeasure over the gross negligence attitude shown by the ministers and the officials towards the problems faced by small scale industries. He said small scale industries sectors are considered as second major sector after agriculture. It is contributing 40 per cent to GDP besides offering 45 per cent employment opportunities. But it is most unfortunate that these industries are still treated as second class citizens, he regretted.

He urged the Central government branch of NIFTEM (National Institute for Food Technology Entrepreneurship Management) should be set up in Karnataka to accelerate the process of Food Industry Development.

He said that in fact, the basic axiom is that there is scope for food processing industries in every development block and if pursued with dexterity. Food processing will provide at least 1,000 processed food units in Karnataka in a period of two years which have multiplier effect of growth subsequently. Karnataka is endowed with 10 agro climatic regions with a wide variety of crops, cereals, pulses, commercial fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the processing that takes place is only of 5 per cent, he said.

According to estimation, more than 100 scientific and professional food consultants are available in Karnataka besides the existence of the internationally famous CFTRI,  APEDA, CIMAP and Centre for Food Packaging which is not fully utilized for the development of food industries.

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