Land issues delay ITC's Rs.23,000 crore investment plan

Delays in getting approvals and land disputes have resulted in cigarettes-to-hotels major ITC Ltd announcing a delay in executing its Rs23,000 crore investment plan announced last year.

"We are not happy with the pace of execution," ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar told reporters.

"Most of the delay is beyond ITC's control. It is due to multiplicity of regulatory approvals and land issues," he added.

The conglomerate had unveiled a five-year investment plan for the period 2011-16, but delays have resulted in extending it to 2017, said Deveshwar. "We had plans to invest thousands of crores of rupees in West Bengal, but so far we have not been able to do so," explained the chairman. "Land is a major impediment."

ITC was eager to expand its presence in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) segment and was also foraying into the dairy sector. "India is the world's largest milk producer and there is a great opportunity to add value to it by making derivative products and brand and market them," he notes. "We are setting up a project in Munger in Bihar, where an animal husbandry programme has been launched. Over a period of time we would like to establish a dairy there. That would be the starting point for entering the dairy business."

The company might produce pasteurised milk, skimmed milk powder, cheese, butter and even chocolates in Munger, he added.