Seven bidders, including Voltas, Deepak Fertilizers and Bharat Hotels have submitted requests for qualification (RFQ) to build a Rs 250-crore terminal market in Thane district near Mumbai. With a daily handling capacity of an estimated 3,000 million tonnes, the terminal will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure to electronically auction, grade, wash, package, process and export perishable and non-perishable goods. In all, 21 terminals are being planned by the Centre across the country. To operate on a hub-and-spoke format, they (the hubs) will be linked to a number of collection centres (spokes).
Voltas and Truefab Engineering have formed a consortium to file an RFQ. The other consortiums that are in fray are Premium Farm Fresh and Bharat Hotels, LMV International and Subhash Project, and Unity Infra and AP Mani & Sons. Primus Agri Projects, Temptation Foods Ltd and Agriculture Produce Market Committee, Navi Mumbai, have submitted individual RFQs. State-run Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board will shortlist the bidders in a fortnight and invite requests for proposal (RFP). The contract will be awarded in May-June and the terminal will operational in one-and-a-half years.
Similar terminal markets are being proposed in Nashik and Nagpur. The three terminals will require a total investment of Rs 350 crore. The central government will provide equity assistance of up to 49 per cent of project equity, returnable at market or fair value to be decided at an appropriate time.
The terminal market is being built on the lines of the US and European markets to reduce post-harvest losses. Losses now are up to 30-40 per cent for perishable goods like fruits and vegetables. Farmers will get more remunerative returns by cutting losses and reducing middlemen.
The commodities to be marketed by the terminal market are fruits, vegetables, flowers, aromatics, herbs, meat and poultry. The proportion of non-perishables will not exceed 15 per cent of the total goods. Similarly, the proportion of non-horticulture products within the perishable commodities shall not exceed 15 per cent of the total produce of the market.