ROURKELA: Even as two new and one old privately-run cold storages in Sundargarh district are struggling to survive with low occupancy amid failed Potato Mission and local horticulture farmers shying away from using them over varied reasons, a new cold storage is being planned in the district. Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Minister Arun Sahu, at a review meeting, said Collector Nikhil Pavan Kalyan has been asked to set up a new cold storage.
Sundargarh Deputy Director of Horticulture (DDH) Sarveswar Bagudai echoed a similar opinion stating that while operational difficulties of private cold storages are yet to be streamlined, another new cold storage is in the pipeline. “The Government has been apprised about the need to first revive defunct cold storages in the district. There are 30 proposals to set up mini-cold storages and eight of them are under construction. These cannot function without State intervention,” he said.
Under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM), two cold storages with combined capacities of 10,000 tonne had started functioning with private participation in Bargaon and Bonai blocks from October 2016 and April 2017, respectively. Another old private cold storage of 1,500 tonne capacity at Rourkela has also been in operation. However, none seems to be economically feasible.
Odisha Cold Storage Association vice-president Prabhat Tibrewal said cold storages in the district are struggling with less than half the storage capacity utilisation. “Following failure of the Potato Mission in Odisha and the district, cold storages are struggling to survive amid heavy interest on capital investment. The business is not feasible in the district and calls for Government intervention to remove operational difficulties,” he said.