With no takers for Government incentives for construction of new cold stores, the Cooperation Department has taken steps to revive 12 defunct stores.
On the request of the State Government, Tavasya Venture Partners Pvt Ltd, a Hyderbad-based consultancy firm, has submitted techno-feasibility report of seven cold stores to the Cooperation Department.
Sources in the Department said funds required for revival of defunct cold stores will be sourced from Nabard under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) and other Central schemes. Efforts will be made to arrange funds from the Centre under Rastriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY), sources added.
The cold storages under cooperative sector became financially unviable due to low earning and high expenditure towards electricity. Since the Government has no definite policy, private investors are not keen to invest in these infrastructure projects.
Currently, the State has 104 cold storages. However, 87 of the stores, including 25 for marine products, are defunct. While 24 cold storages are under cooperative sector, the majority is owned by private organisations. About 18 cold storages of the Department are lying defunct while a few have been leased out.
Three cold stores have been set up by Odisha State Cooperative Marketing Federation (Markfed) at Jagatpur, Bhubaneswar and Rayagada. While Jagatpur and Bhubaneswar cold stores are functioning, the one in Rayagada is under construction.
The Government had announced to meet the design cost besides providing more than 60 per cent subsidy for construction of cold storages. But, there is hardly any response from individuals or corporate sector to the offer, said sources.
In its agriculture policy, the State Government has announced 75 per cent subsidy for KBK districts and 60 per cent for non-KBK districts for construction of cold storages.
The task force on potato headed by Principal Secretary, Agriculture has reportedly decided to recommend to the State Government to provide at least 25 per cent subsidy on energy charges to make the cold storages viable.
Major potato producing States like West Bengal and Punjab are providing electricity to cold storages at subsidised rates, sources in the task force said.