British delegation shows interest in pvt sector

Bhubaneswar:  A British delegation on Tuesday showed keen interest in investing in the private sector, particularly small scale enterprises in the state. "We are tremendously impressed with the progress in UK-funded projects in Odisha. We have seen fruits of work done by Odisha government in areas like health, sanitation and agriculture," Alan Haselhurst, who led a nine-member delegation of British Parliamentarians, told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

He also commended the work for providing protection against malaria and other diseases.

"There is clear justification of the increasing money of British aid flowing into the state. It has been a moving experience," Haselhurst said adding the delegation would present the positive story after returning.

Besides discussing the need for greater cooperation with Odisha government, the British parliamentarians accompanied by representatives of UK`s Department of International Development (DFID) visited several project sites and held discussion with senior officials.

"One of things we are trying to do now in addition to work we do with the government on health and educational programmes is to provide some investment in private sector too," DFID acting Asia Director Sam Sharpe said during the team`s visit to Milk Mantra, a dairy project located near Gop in Puri district.

"I think from DFID you can expect some investments in small scale enterprises and start-up companies," he added.

"We certainly believe there is scope for cooperation between British companies and enterprises here," Haselhurst said.

DFID state official Sailesh Kumar said UK is increasing its support to channel funds where private sector agrees to partner DFID`s mission to sustain innovative investments in the field of agriculture. .

The chief minister during the meeting underlined the need for greater cooperation between Odisha and Britain in areas like tourism, education and health, the sources said.

He also hoped that collaborative ventures undertaken with assistance of DFID would become more fruitful in future.

Patnaik during his visit to the UK in May had met Britain?s Minister for DFID Andrew Mitchell in London and discussed the assistance to the state for development of urban infrastructure and spreading education among the SC and ST girl students.

The British parliamentarians sought to know about the development challenges faced by the state government in implementing developmental programmes along with the DFID support, the sources said.

`Milk Mantra` Managing Director and CEO Srikumar Mishra claimed that the company was the country`s first venture capital funded agri-food startup and said the milk sourcing module of the company had helped in educating over 5000 milk suppliers on fair pricing policy without middle men.

The British delegation interacted with company officials and evinced keen interest in its technology and mode of functioning.

The company was set up at an investment of about Rs 20 crore over four acres. It produces fresh pasteurised milk in a unique packaging format with the product proposition being truly pure does not need any boiling, Milk Mantra Executive Director Rashima Mishra said.