JKHPMC on verge of closure
Courtesy: Shortage of raw material, unhygienic conditions, diversion of funds to salaries
Srinagar, June 18: The sole functional unit of Jammu & Kashmir Horticultural Produce Marketing & Processing Corporation (HPMC) – the apple juice concentrate plant- located at Doabgah in Sopore is on verge of closure due to apathetic attitude of the successive regimes in the state and shortage of raw material.
Set up in 1979-80 by Mumbai- based Hindustan Coca Products Limited (HCPL), Jammu & Kashmir Government purchased the plant in 1985 and subsequently transferred it to HPMC for the operation.
Though the plant was operational till 2000, the failure of the Corporation to upgrade the existing facilities and replace the worn-out machinery has impaired its functioning.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that there has been a heavy wear and tear in the machinery due to continuous operation over past three decades.
“All modern facilities like Automatic Fruit Feeding System are not functional in the plant and archaic methods are being used there,” they said.
The official documents with Greater Kashmir corroborate the mess in the plant
“The apple juice concentrate plant has presently the most primitive methods of material handing equipment by which the fruits is manually unloaded from the trucks in gunny bags and then subsequently carried on trolleys to the deleafer unit. The system which is prevalent is most unhygienic in light of Food Factory laws. The present material handing equipment is also fabricated of Mild Steel and is being epoxy coated annually adding to the costs of the plants. As per Food Laws, fruits should not come into contract with Mild steel at any stage as this adds to the iron content of the concentrate,” reads one of the document.
“Nestle which used to purchase the bulk of product from Sopore juice plant has stopped to buy due to unhygienic conditions prevalent at the plant,” said an official, adding that , although the funds were earmarked for upgradation of the plant in last few years, but they were diverted to pay the salaries of employees.
Officials of HPMC said that shortage of raw material is also proving to be stumbling block in functioning of the plant
“We would get enough raw materials at the time when Market Intervention Scheme was in vogue. Now it is too difficult to get raw material at minimal rates,” they added.
The abysmal condition of the plant has led to sharp decline in its profits.
While net profit in 1997- 98 was Rs 1.08 crore, Rs 1.3 crore in 1999-2000, Rs 1.2 crore in 2001-02, but it has come down drastically over last few years .In 2008-09 and 2009-10 , the net profit was mere Rs 24 lakh and Rs 21 lakh respectively.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the proposal of setting up of Apple Juice and Apple Pulp processing line at Doabagh couldn’t take off due to failure of Corporation to arrange promoter’s share.
“Although Letter of Intent (LOI) was received by the Corporation for the project from Centre, but the project couldn’t be taken up in hand as Corporation failed to arrange promoters share,” they said, adding that Planning Department was later approached for financial share.
“They too did not come to our rescue thereby the project couldn’t be taken up,” they added.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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