Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today inaugurated 12 new Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Store projects worth Rs. 368.35 Crore at Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora in South Kashmir's Pulwama district on Sunday.
This expansion is expected to provide a substantial boost to the local farming sector, increasing storage capacity and generating employment opportunities.
In his address, LG Manoj Sinha emphasised the vital role these CA stores will play in supporting the farming community. These new stores have added an impressive 60,000 metric tonnes of storage capacity to IGC Lassipora, thereby providing a valuable resource for farmers.
“The expansion is also set to create direct employment opportunities for approximately 600 people, which will have a positive impact on the local workforce,” he said.
LG Sinha highlighted the existing CA stores in the region, with a combined storage capacity of 185,833 metric tonnes, which were established with an investment of Rs. 1,887 crore and have already generated substantial employment opportunities.
He pointed out that the long-awaited augmentation of storage facilities is a testament to the positive changes unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir. This marks just the beginning of a substantial expansion of CA stores and cold storage facilities in the region, given the current horticultural production levels.
The LG expressed optimism about increased agricultural production due to the implementation of a holistic agriculture development programme and underlined the boundless opportunities available in the sector. He stated that over the past six months, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed significant investments, with 259 CA stores in the pipeline, expected to generate employment for approximately 16,000 individuals.
LG Manoj Sinha attributed this progress to the aspirations, dreams, and determination of the people, which have ushered in a new era of development in the region. He observed the growing excitement among the local population and advancements in various sectors, emphasizing that the entire country recognizes the potential of agriculture and the allied sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
Referring to the Horticulture Development Action Programme (HDAP), he highlighted its focus on transforming the lives of the more than 70 per cent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir who depend on agriculture and allied sectors. The HDAP aims to facilitate farmers from seed to market, with a strong emphasis on farmer welfare.
LG Sinha stressed the government's dedication to improving the lives of marginal farmers by reducing production costs and increasing their income. He pointed out that crop insurance coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana has been extended to all 20 districts, and it is expected to cover horticultural produce soon.
He also noted the significant potential in dairy, fishery, and sericulture, and the government's efforts to explore these areas further. "In line with the goal of leading farmers toward progress through innovative, smart, and digital farming, district officers of the agriculture department have undergone training, and similar training for farmers at the Panchayat level is planned," he said.
LG Manoj Sinha revealed that a dedicated portal for farmer registration for training and certification has been established. He emphasised that the government is actively working to reduce post-harvest losses, with CA stores expected to play a crucial role in achieving this objective.
LG Manoj Sinha encouraged industrialists to invest in CA stores, highlighting the assurance and security of this business model. "Unlike other parts of the country where CA stores remain empty for six months, those in Jammu and Kashmir operate year-round, benefiting both farmers and the region's population," he said.
The LG also commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing a new industrial policy for Jammu and Kashmir, which he believes has opened up new opportunities for the Union Territory. He revealed that PM Modi had assured maximum incentives for Jammu and Kashmir, and the government is working to implement investment proposals totalling Rs. 86,000 crore.
The LG said that Jammu and Kashmir is rapidly emerging as a favored investment destination, attracting interest from across the country and abroad. He shared that plans are in place to develop 44 industrial estates, and the region is the first in the country to adopt a single-window system for ease of doing business.
Sh Vikramjit Singh, Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce department highlighted the efforts of the administration to promote Industries and Business activities in J&K UT.
In the presence of Lt Governor, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Central Public Works Department and SIDCO for development of 6 new industrial estates in the UT.
The Lt Governor handed over certificates to the owners to CA Stores and also released a compendium of Industries and Commerce Department.
Earlier, the Lt Governor visited the Koh-e-Noor CA Store and inspected the facilities at the 5000 MT capacity store.
ADGP Kashmir; Vijay Kumar; Baldev Prakash, MD and CEO J&K Bank; Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; senior officers of UT administration and officer bearers of Lassipora Industrial Estate and members of Chamber of Commerce were present.