In a first, a Bangladeshi food and beverages processing company, the PRAN Group, has set up a plant in Tripura at a targetted investment of Rs.200 crore, company officials said on Thursday.
The PRAN (Programme for Rural Advancement Nationally) group -- the first Bangladesh-based company to set up its unit in India -- will function in the name of PRAN Beverages (India) Private Limited, exporting its products to 114 countries, according to the officials.
"We have so far invested Rs.50 crore to set up a processing unit at western Tripura's Bodhjungnagar industrial growth centre. We will invest another Rs.150 crore in the next two-to-three years to expand the unit," said Sujon Krishna Roy, general manager of the PRAN Beverages (India) Private Limited.
Bodhjungnagar is 25 km north of Agartala.
"The unit has already started production and it is expected that it will be formally inaugurated in July," Roy told IANS here.
The Tripura government has allotted land to the PRAN company in Bodhjungnagar to set up the unit, where already 500 people, mostly local residents and women, have been employed.
"More than 1,000 workers would be engaged by 2017 after the expansion of the factory."
According to Roy, the company is setting up a processing factory at Kalyani in West Bengal's Nadia district at a cost of Rs.5 crore. Also, it has planned to set up plants in Odisha and Siliguri in West Bengal.
"India's northeast region is a very good place for us because of its huge market. Its economic growth is also creating more market opportunities. If we can capture the growing market, we will be able to grow an immense potential," he said.
"In Bangladesh, PRAN is currently producing more than 300 food products under 10 different categories, including juices, drinks, mineral water, bakery, carbonated beverages, snacks, culinary and confectionery items, biscuits and dairy products.
"In the Tripura unit, similar products will be produced after the completion of the unit," he added.
Roy said: "To produce international-standard quality food and beverages from the Tripura unit, machinery from China, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and India has been installed.
"We are providing all kind of logistical help to commission the food and beverages processing unit and it will earn foreign investment besides generating local employment," said Tripura Industrial Development Corporation chairman and Lok Sabha member Jitendra Chowdhury.
PRAN group is Bangladesh's largest grower and processor of fruits, beverages and vegetables.
Roy said that for the Tripura factory, raw materials were mostly being procured from this northeastern state, which shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh.