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ITC to invest Rs 3,000 cr in West Bengal

Business Standard:  February 11, 2016

Kolkata: Cigarettes to consumer goods major ITC Ltd on Wednesday unveiled three major projects in West Bengal, where it is headquartered, which could mean an investment of nearly Rs 3,000 crore.

These projects involve two integrated consumer goods manufacturing facilities in Uluberia (400,000 sq ft) and Panchla (800,000 sq ft) and an information technology (IT) facility (2.7 million sq ft) in Rajarhat, near the state’s capital.

Earlier, while appreciating West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s endeavour to attract investment, ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar had planned a total investment of Rs 4,500 crore, which included developing a 500-room hotel here.

Production of agricultural commodities from its plant in Uluberia is poised to start from May, while the other agro-processing unit in Panchla will commence operations by March 2017. The IT park, which includes a 140-key hotel and  residential accommodation, will be completed in phases beginning 2018.

The firm’s decision to invest in the food processing sector follows the state government's claim of the per capita income in West Bengal featuring as double to the national one.  “One specific factor holding back economic development in the state is consumption sentiment,” said Deveshwar.

According to him, the development of the food processing sector will not only help consumers avail better quality food, it will also create more employment in the state besides cutting down on wastage of foodstuff and grains.

In many countries in far-east Asia, Brazil etc, a strong food processing sector - which processes 75-85 per cent of the produce — helps in controlling food wastage.

However, in India, only four per cent of the agro produce is covered by the food processing sector.

The company, which had only three units in the state, has added nine more projects in the past five years - when Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress came to power.

Deveshwar, however, is seeking more land adjacent to its Uluberia plant to add more product lines. “We could scale up tomorrow. If a plant can be scaled up, more product lines can be added.”

He confirmed the Kolkata based company will be adding more product lines in future to attain its targeted growth.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.