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Onion storage feasibility study for India

New Delhi, India: Five consultancy firms including Technopak Advisors and Yes Bank are in the race for Fresh & Healthy Enterprises (FHEL) technical feasibility study for large storage facilities for onion and oranges, reports the Hindu Business Line.

FHEL is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Container Corporation of India (Concor) and operates a cold chain infrastructure and logistics for fruits such as apples. The Ministry of Agriculture has recently mandated FHEL to explore options for creating both short and long-term storage facilities for onions, kinnows and orange.

Currently, no large cold storage facility exists in the country for storing onions for over six months. Creation of cold storage facility for onions assumes significance for the Government as shortages have often triggered political crisis. Onions are harvested normally from September to May.

FHEL had invited expression of interest from consultancy firms to prepare techno commercial feasibility studies for storage of onion, kinnows and oranges. It also includes feasibility study for creation of cold storage facility in Jammu and Kashmir and review and preparing a 10-year business plan for FHEL.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ingersoll Rand are the other companies that have submitted their bids for the FHEL proposal. FHEL is likely to finalise the bids in about two to three weeks, a source said.

FHEL operates a 12,000-tonne cold storage facility at Rai near Delhi. Concor  procures apples from growers in Himachal Pradesh during the season and sells them during the off-season under its brand, Fresh & Healthy. Over the past four years, FHEL has handled more than 35,000 tonnes of apples. It can store apples for over six months at its cold storage.

FHEL leases its cold storage facility to third parties for storing rice, vegetables such as carrot and garlic, and flower bulbs.