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HUBLI: An integrated Rice Technology Park at Karatagi town in Koppal district has become a near future possibility. The land acquiring process for the project has gained momentum after the assurance from the Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadanand Gowda. There is also a plan to hold land acquisition process and develop basic infrastructure for the park simultaneously.
The government has already transferred 90 acre of its own land to the Special Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (SAPMC), Karatagi, the implementing agency. The process of transferring another 121 acre is going on. The remaining, required 250 acre, will be bought from the nearby land owners.
Agriculture Marketing Department (AMD) director Dr C Somashekhar said, "The SAPMC has bought 90 acre of government land on 50 percent of the market value by paying Rs 1.1 crore. A request has been made to the Revenue Department to transfer another 121 acre. The amount would be paid once the government evaluates the price. The process is also nearing completion."
The total estimated cost of the park is around Rs 350 crore and should be implemented under a public private partnership (PPP) model. But in order to expedite the implementation AMD has decided to break the project in to two phases and will be spending Rs 150 crore initially to create basic infrastructure and provide necessary technical support.
STAKEHOLDERS ACROSS THE BOARD
Mr Somashekhar noted that the viability gap fund of about 20 percent of the total project cost should come from the mill owners of the region and as of now they are noncommittal on sharing it. Though, parleys are being held with them, AMD has decided to go ahead. "Some kind of structure with basic amenities in the proposed site will instill confidence among the millers and this will encourage them to be a stakeholder," he stated.
However, the Karnataka Rice Millers Association (KRMA) president Paranna Munavalli brushed all such speculations aside and said that the millers are very much ready to invest. "When the demand survey of the project was conducted millers from far off evinced interest. Moreover, investment in the park will prove cost effective so the millers are prepared to expand their business by setting new mill there and even processing units".
Project Report AwaitedThe project is still at a nascent stage and a detailed project report (DPR) is yet to be drafted. Then only can an estimate of the land requirement be made and the actual cost of the project calculated. "A special officer will be assigned to prepare the DPR and a meeting of millers with the Chief Minister, who holds the Agriculture Marketing portfolio, will take place to take the project to the next phase", the director informed.
The technology park is being set on 460 acres of land based on the study report submitted by a team headed by Dr PG Chengappa, vice chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. It will act as a one stop solution for all the needs ofpaddy cultivation and will be a centre for manufacturing paddy products.