Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The Union Ministry of Commerce is working out the modalities of creating a fund, as a one-time measure, to help revive the sick floriculture units in the country.

This was announced at the inauguration of the international flower auction centre in Bangalore on Thursday by Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

Agricultural Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) chairman K.S. Money told The Hindu that fund would be around Rs. 40 crore. It would help revive sick units and also subsidise the transport of flowers.

According to a survey by APEDA, the country had 39 sick floriculture units. Of them, 16 had been taken up for revival in the first-phase of the aid released earlier.

Of the remaining 23 units, only 18 units could be revived, he explained.

The arrears of the bank loans of these 18 sick units, which had a land-holding of around five acres each, would be paid with the help of the above fund. However, the sick units themselves had to make 40 per cent of contribution to the proposed fund while the remaining 60 per cent would be made by the Centre as per the revival package.

Mr. Money said about Rs. 10 crore from the proposed fund would be utilised for providing transport subsidy for the floriculture sector. Such a subsidy, which was being given earlier, had been withdrawn on September 3, 2002.