GOLAKGANJ, July 25 � The Panbari milk chilling plant, which was set up with an investment of Rs 1 crore under the dairy development department of the Government of Assam, has failed to yield profits owing to the negligence and apathy of the State Government during the last 25 years.
The construction work of the chilling plant was started in 1986 and continued for three years. All the buildings and sheds, including the staff quarters on 18 bighas of land, were completed by October 1988. The required machinery for the unit were procured during November 1988 to February 1991, which were to be assembled within a few months. But till date, no mechanic or technician has been appointed in the unit for assembling the machinery, which has been supplied by Mahendra Dutta and Company.
The machinery worth Rs. 18 lakh lying in the plant without any proper packaging are gathering rust. The plant was established with an aim to supplying 5,000 litres of chilled milk per day to Dhubri, Gauripur, Bilasipara and Chapar areas of the district at a profit margin of 50 paise per litre. About four villages of Golakganj and Banshbari were brought under this scheme to provide milk on a regular basis to the plant. In 1994, the villagers attached to the plants were granted loans by different banks amounting to Rs. 28 lakh to buy 222 cross-bread jersey cows and construct cow sheds. The beneficiaries of this scheme, according to sources, purchased cows and the necessary construction of sheds were completed in 1994. But the milk, instead of being taken to the plant for chilling, is now being sold in the market.
If the State Dairy Development Department takes a little more initiative to get the plant going, the economy in the area may get a much-needed boost. Sources said the present requirements of the plant are assembling of the machinery, proper water facilities and vehicles for transportation. The milk-carrying vehicles sanctioned for the plant are being presently used by other dairy Development Project in Goalpara district. It may be noted that a milk-carrying vehicle was sanctioned for this plant in 1992 also. Later, the allotment was diverted to the Nalbari Dairy Development Project. The staff of the chilling plant have also been working in the Nalbari plant of the dairy development department.