Months after Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) dumped the perishable cargo storage facility at Ratanpur in Singur on railway land, the developer is making a last bid to find contractors for a project whose foundation stone was laid by none other than chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The project, part of the Kisan Vision Yojana, for which Mamata Banerjee, then railway minister, laid the foundation stone in 2009, was given to Fresh and Healthy Enterprises Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Concor, and was made functional in 2011.
Built at a cost of Rs 6 crore, the cargo centre has a total area of 1,700 sq metres. The warehouse in the facility has the capacity to store more than 1,000 tonnes of potatoes and a little more than 400 tonnes of fruits and vegetables. “The project did not even
have proper roads for trucks to enter the area,” said Adhir Chowdhury, minister of state for railways. The railway ministry in a statement on Thursday said, “Due to very low utilization, the service provider has abandoned the contract.”
However, Concor is making a last-ditch effort to revive the project at Singur. “They are trying to revive the project. It is difficult to get a contractor for the project now. Earlier, it was given to a contractor but they did not find it feasible,” Chowdhury said.
According to Arup Roy, minister of agriculture marketing of the state, cold storage projects have to be near the market, especially the multi-purpose ones. This project was located far away from the market and could not find many takers,” he said.
“For example, there is a cold storage near Chapadanga in Hooghly. It was planned during the Left Front regime. But it failed to take off as it is not near the market,” Roy added.
Meanwhile, other perishable cargo centres of Concor in the state have also run into rough waters. The cargo centre near Siliguri, taken over by Concor in 2011 from Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority, is still awaiting a licence from the state agriculture department. The centre at Dankuni, being developed by Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd, will be set up this fiscal after Railways hands over possession of the land.