The Centre–State spat took an interesting turn with the High Court on Wednesday clearing supply of jute bags to Union government from a greenfield Rs 100-crore Jute Park project in Bengal.
As stakeholder, the Mamata government had lent support to the project. The Centre was fiercely opposed to issue jute bag supply orders to the Jute Park. Because of order problems, the project suffered and was closed for almost a year in two phases in 2013 and 2014.
Locked in a protracted court battle for past 3 years, the future of the project was hanging fire. On 22 December 2016, the High Court ruled the Union government to issue jute bag supply orders to the project from January 2017.
The importance of the project lay in the involvement of past and present Advocate Generals (AG) of Mamata government fighting for and against the project in personal capacity. The matter falling sub-judice, the Chief Minister could not inaugurate the project personally in January 2015. The project can produce 48 tons of jute bags per day and an additional 27 tons of value-added items and diversified jute products. It employs 2,500 people and is located on 23.86 acres of government-leased land at Barshul in Shaktigarh. The project has been set up on a PPP model under the erstwhile jute technology mission and integrated textile park schemes of 12th five year plan.
The state government holds a stake of 3.82 per cent in the project and the Centre offered a subsidy of Rs 7.5 crore. In 1966, the state Panchayat and Rural department offered 23.86 acres of land on a 99-year lease to Shaktigarh Textiles and Industries Limited, the private partner in the project.
At present, there are two jute park projects at Assam and Bihar in Eastern India and one in Bengal. They are Assam Golden Fibre Project at Silchar, Purnasar Jute Park in Purnea and Sikaria Jute Park in North Dinajpur. The government withdrew approvals to six jute park projects across India as they failed to develop infrastructure and meet necessary requirements.