Sharing the initiatives taken by the ministry since the new government took charge in May, Badal said the government has sanctioned 20 new cold chain projects.

It is also exploring the new scheme for infrastructure and cluster development, she added.

"Under the scheme (2008-09) of mega food parks, government has sanctioned 42 projects throughout the country, of this, 25 projects are presently under implementation in various states. For the remaining 17, the ministry has received 72 eligible expressions of interest" Badal said at a press conference here.

The minister added that in the next few months government will also approve the setting up of 17 mega food parks with each park estimated to attract a minimum investment of about Rs 125 crore.

Food Processing Secretary Siraj Hussain said that out of the 25 projects approved, two have already become operational- one at Haridwar in Uttarakhand and another at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.

Hussian also added that four more parks one each at Tumkur in Karnataka, Fazilka in Punjab, Murshidabad in West Bengal and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh will be completed by the end of this year.

The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on cluster approach and are based on hub and spoke model. It aims at facilitating the establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient supply chain, which includes collection centres, Central Processing Center (CPC) and cold chain infrastructure.

The scheme envisages one time capital grant of 50 percent of the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a maximum of Rs 50 crore in general areas, and 75 per cent of the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 crore, in difficult and hilly areas including north east region and Jammu and Kashmir.

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