Chandigarh, Sep 1: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sanctioned Rs 3.73 crore for purchase of ultra-modern machinery required for upgrading of the fruit and vegetable processing units run by the Punjab Agro Juices Limited (PAJL) in Abohar and Hoshiarpur districts.

The move is aimed at promoting crop diversification by utilising the capacity of the two juicing plants. Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that Badal gave nod to install poly citrus, poly press and photo-finisher machines worth Rs 1.77 crore at the Abohar plant.

Besides, fruit and vegetable compressor machine would be installed at the Abohar plant, at a cost of Rs 51 lakh, to be utilised for processing of red and green chillies, ginger, garlic, onion and carrot. He also approved setting up of two dryers for making the residue of fruits and vegetables saleable. In order to package juices produced at the plants, Badal gave a go ahead for setting up of a bottling plant at a cost of Rs 75 lakh in Hoshiarpur.

The plants at Abohar and Hoshiarpur have processed a record 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes and other fruits like watermelon, litchi and pears during this year. The state government has set a target of processing 10,000 tonnes of kinnows in the coming season, the spokesperson said.

“With equipping both these plants with high-end technology, the processing of maximum fruits of Punjab like watermelon, pears, litchi, guava and carrot would be ensured to enhance its value addition on one hand and to ensure handsome returns to cultivators on the other,” the spokesperson said.