BHUBANESWAR: In a belated move, the State government has approved the Agriculture department’s proposal to provide 50 per cent (pc) subsidy on electricity tariff to functional cold stores for storage of agricultural and horticultural produce. The cold storage operators will avail the subsidy for three years from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
“After careful consideration, the government has been pleased to amend the pattern of assistance provided for electricity tariff subsidy under the State Potato Mission. Subsidy at the rate of 50 pc per annum will be provided to the functional cold stores for storage of agricultural and horticultural produce,” said a notification of the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department.
The Director of Horticulture will ensure provision of storage facility to cultivators and farmers producer organisations (FPOs). The owners of cold stores availing electricity tariff subsidy must provide their facilities to farmers/FPOs otherwise the subsidy will be stopped immediately and recovery process initiated, the notification said.
The much-needed relief to the cold storage owners came after six years of launching of the State Potato Mission in 2015. Though the mission failed, entrepreneurs who built storage facilities with the hope of assured income from storage of agricultural produce had to struggle to pay back their bank loans.
The decision to provide subsidy to functional cold stores was taken after a series of inter-ministerial meetings of Agriculture, Cooperation, Energy and MSME departments and a detailed study on technical feasibility and economic viability issues associated with operation of cold stores.
Under the State Potato Mission, a task force had recommended the government for providing power subsidy for six years to cold stores set up before March 2018 for use of at least 50 pc of their capacity with the potato procured from the State. The tariff subsidy proposed under the mission was 50 pc for the first two years, 30 pc for next two years and 20 pc for the subsequent two years. Only 49 out of 131 cold stores with capacity of 2,32,800 tonne are functional in 17 districts. In cooperative sector, out of 18 cold stores, only five are functional.
- Director of Horticulture will ensure providing storage facility to farmers
- Cold store operators must provide their facilities to farmers, and producer organisations
- 49 out of 131 cold stores are functional in 17 districts