Renewing her attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday said it was the UPA government that denied extension to the mega food park at Jagdishpur in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh), paving the way for its cancellation.
“In March 2014, the previous UPA government decided not to give further extension for completing the ground work for Shaktiman Mega Food Park project in Amethi district. It is only after that that the Ministry issued the cancellation letter in July,” Badal said at a press conference here on Monday.
Questioning Rahul’s “seriousness”, she said he came to know about the project’s cancellation only 10 months after the letter was issued.
It may be noted that Badal had earlier said that the approval for the setting up of the mega food park was cancelled due to the promoter company not fulfilling the formality of acquiring the requisite land in its name.
Earlier in the day, Rahul, who is visiting Uttar Pradesh, alleged that the Narendra Modi government cancelled the project because of “politics of revenge”, which had “seriously hit” the farmers. Countering him, Badal said the Congress vice-president does not even know the name of the place where the food park is to be set up.
“When Rahul Gandhi had all the power, he did not do anything. Why is he against it now?” she asked. The Minister further said the project was actually a power project and not mega food park project.
“Over 60 per cent of revenue from the project was estimated to come from the captive power plant. In fact, the promoters asked for subsidised gas, which was denied by the Petroleum Ministry under the then UPA government,” she said, alleging that it was very difficult to imagine a food park in the fertiliser complex where gases such as ammonia will be produced.
During his visit to his constituency, Rahul said the food park would have benefitted farmers of 10 districts as they could directly send their produce to the processing units.
Addressing a gathering of farmers in Mirzagarh village, he asserted that “we will not be cowed down and would pressure the government to get it (food park project) back“.
However, Badal termed his allegations as a “mega jhoot (untruth)”. In fact, he misled the farmers by laying the foundation stone in October 2013, a few months away from the general election, she said.