MANGALURU: “For the first time we have a Prime Minister whose eyes and ears are open,” emphasises entrepreneur Pradeep G Pai, sitting in his chamber in Mangaluru on Friday. Pradeep Pai, who owns Hangyo Ice Creams Ltd, has reason to be overjoyed.
A bluntly written letter to the Prime Minister not only evoked a response from Narendra Modi, but also forced the Ministry of Food Proce_ssing Industries (MoFPI) to release capital subsidy, which was pending for four years.
“A week ago, capital subsidy of `50 lakh was deposited in my account,” says Pai.
A first-generation entrepreneur, Pai applied for MoFPI’s decentralised scheme of capital subsidy and set up a state-of-the-art ice cream manufacturing plant at Kirwatti village in Yellapur taluk in Uttara Kannada district. As per the scheme’s guidelines, Pai’s bank which had sanctioned a term loan, uploaded the claim for release of the first instalment of capital subsidy on the ministry’s website in August 2012. The same year, the Centre discontinued the scheme and replaced it with the National Mission on Food Processing.
All efforts from Pai to get the ministry to release two instalments of subsidy yielded no results. “I was very upset and decided to write a letter to the Prime Minister,” Pai reveals. In the letter, Pai explains how grave injustice was inflicted on entrepreneurs who had set up units between April 2007 and March 31, 2012. While the first instalment of subsidy for units set up before April 2012 was kept pending, entrepreneurs who set up units after April 2012 had received both instalments of subsidy.
“Should entrepreneurs like me be penalised for a folly committed by MoFPI?” Pai questioned in the letter.