CHANDIGARH: Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab today said that Punjab Government has requested Union Commerce Ministry to allow export of perishable goods to Pakistan and other countries through Wagah border through air-conditioned containers to increase their shelf life and to put Punjab products at par with international products.
Speaking at valedictory function of 10th Agrotech 2012, organized by CII here today Badal said that the opening up of Wagah Border and giving a dry port status to Wagah by allowing export of 6,000 goods could be a game changer for whole northern India as there would be a total paradigm shift with new this new development. He said that Punjab Government has asked Union Government to setup an integrated Container Depot at ICP Wagah besides a Food Storage Center there.
He said that during last month alone, 5,000 trucks have crossed Wagah, when we were allowing only export of 137 goods. Badal said that he was seeking additional infrastructure at ICP because with the likely approval of export of 6000 goods to Pakistan, next month there was an urgent need to expand the capacity of the Dry Port at Wagah.
He said that Punjab with 1.5 % geographical area had been contributing more than 55% in the national food kitty and in that process of making India self-sufficient, Punjab has bleeded itself of its nutrients in the soil besides ground water. Giving a call for diversification in agriculture sector, Badal said that farmers would have to come out of vicious cycle of Wheat and Paddy and focus on low water consuming cash crops.
He said that Punjab Government was seeking investments from the enterprenuers especially in the area of diversification of Agriculture sector, food processing and conservation of water. Appreciating the endeavour of CII for educating farmers on latest agro techniques, Badal said that farmers would have to turn smart marketers, who would be able to adjust their product portfolio according to the fast changing demand and supply equation in the international food market.
Stressing the need for water conserving crops, Badal said that Punjab Government has already allowed a Multi National Company to setup Maize Research Center at PAU so that farmers could be educated to shift to high yield maize crops. Announcing to setup state-of-the-art Convention Center at SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Amritsar by 2014, Badal said that hopefully next Agrotech in 2014 would be in the new convention center in Mohali or Amritsar. Earlier presiding over the conference, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Finance Minister, Punjab called upon entrepreneurs to come out with technology for small and marginal farmers to increase their yield.
Earlier Punjab Agro received the Best Display Award and in international category award Went to Carraro India Ltd and second prize went to Consulate General of Canada. Best Display at Good Earth Award went to International Packaging Products Ltd and second prize went to Tata Chemicals Ltd. Prominent amongst those who addressed the gathering included Jayant Davar, Deputy Chairman CII, S Venkatraman, Senior Vice President and Principal Rabo Equity Advisors.