In a major boost to the state’s industrial development, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday inaugurated a Rs. 800 crore PepsiCo franchisee Varun Beverages green facility, with the potential to generate direct and indirect employment for 5000 persons.
The fully backward integrated facility, spread over 41 acres allotted by Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, would manufacture the complete range of Tropicana juices, Dairy based products, carbonated beverages and Aquafina Water. Trial production at the facility in the Growth Industrial Centre, Pangoli, has already begun trial production of the products.
The Chief Minister also announced a Dairy Development Extension Centre to be established in the region by Guru Angad Dev Veterinary Sciences University (GADVASU) in order to provide the best animal health care services to the dairy farmers, besides improving the breed of milch cattle to enhance the milk quality.
The Pepsico project, said the Chief Minister, would further catalase industrial growth in the state, which had witnessed many path-breaking initiatives by his government, including abolition of truck unions, power @ Rs 5 per unit to the existing and new Industry, and GST incentive on sale of goods within and outside the state as measures to revive industry.
He further pointed out that employment subsidy @ Rs 48,000 per employee per year for five year was being offered to investors without any upper cap, The consumption of power in the industrial sector grew @ 14 percent in 2018-19, showing the revival of industrial sector in the state. The Chief Minister further revealed that MoUs worth Rs. 66,000 crore had been signed since his government took over, of which work on investment worth Rs 36,000 crore had already started on the ground.
Member Parliament Sunil Jakhar said that the commitment of the Capt Amarinder government towards industrial development could be gauged from the fact that the Pepsico franchisee project had become operational within 10 months of the application. M/s Varun Beverages Ltd. (VBL) applied to Invest Punjab in April 2018 and all requisite clearance related to setting up of projects etc were completed within a period of just 10 months.
MLA Pathankot Amit Vij thanked the Chief Minister and described the new unit as a sapling planted by the Chief Minister, which had grown as a tree and would now be beneficial for present and future generations.
Ahmed ElSheikh, President & CEO, PepsiCo India expressed gratitude to the Government of Punjab under the visionary leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh. PepsiCo started its India journey from Punjab over 30 years ago and this latest investment by the PepsiCo ecosystem was a reiteration of its commitment to its India business growth story, he said, adding that the new facility will act as a hub to address the growing demand for the company’s beverage portfolio amongst consumers in the State and beyond.
Ravi Jaipuria, Chairman, Varun Beverages Ltd., said the inauguration of the facility was in line with their endeavor to strengthen their presence in fast growing categories. The addition of these product categories to the portfolio would result in better asset usage as the seasonality in these categories was relatively lower and would help augment the company’s return ratios and profitability metrics going forward. He also announced jobs for another 10000 families in the dairy business in the state.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion were MLAs Joginder Pal, Barindermeet Singh, CEO Invest Punjab Rajat Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner Ramvir and District Congress Committee President Sanjiv Bains.