This ropeway will have three lines and initially there will be 220 cabins, which will be upgraded to total 660 cabins with a carrying capacity of 8 to 9 passengers.
Chemical-free fresh natural produce will now be available to the consumers in the State Secretariat complex in Chotta Shimla, Himachal Pradesh University campus in Summerhill and Krishi Bhawan in Boileauganj in a mobile van direct from the farmers every Friday, beginning September 15.
In what can be termed as ‘Natural Produce on Wheels’, the State Project Implementing Unit (SPIU) of Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y) of Himachal Pradesh government is facilitating the farmers in three blocks adjoining Shimla (Mashobra, Basantpur and Totu) sell their fresh chemical-free vegetables, fruits and some products like ghee, pickles etc to the consumers at these specified spots on reasonable price.
The mobile van carrying natural vegetables and other produce for sale will be parked in the premises of State Secretariat, Chotta Shimla on every Friday from 1.00 PM to 2.30 PM and then on HPU campus from 3.00 PM to 4.00 PM. The same mobile van will be parked at Krishi Bhawan, Boileauganj at 4.15 PM to 5.30 PM after sale of natural produce on HPU campus.
“We will do this on a pilot basis in the state capital as the consumers want to buy the chemical-free natural vegetables, fruits and other produce. Based on the success, we will have more sale spots for chemical-free natural produce in Shimla and we can then replicate it in other districts,” said State Project Director, PK3Y, Hemis Negi.
Around 200 farmers are being involved in the process of maintaining the regular supply chain from different farmer clusters identified in three blocks in Shimla district. All the farmers associated with this are certified for natural produce under a self-assessed certification process, CETARA (Certified Evaluation Tool for Agricultural Resource Analysis)- Natural Farming, devised by PK3Y.
The heads (farmers) of the farmer clusters would ensure that the supply chain for the fresh natural produce is maintained every week. Although the farmers have been marketing their produce in their own way and the PK3Y has been working on the sustainable marketing mechanism for the farmers, the concept of facilitating the farmers sell their natural produce directly through a mobile van is being implemented for the first time. The SPIU, it is pertinent to mention, has worked out modalities to run the mobile van.
The SPIU would provide a Farmer Producer Company (FPC) fellow, working with PK3Y, to facilitate sale of natural produce at the specified spots. The PK3Y was launched five years back in Himachal Pradesh to promote the natural farming technique in the larger interest of sustainable agriculture and healthy produce for consumers. Around 1.70 lakh farmers in the state are practicing this chemical-free, low-cost and environment friendly farming technique partially or fully on their fields, involving an area of over 24,000 hectares across Himachal Pradesh.
The natural farming technique, propounded by Padma Shri awardee Subhash Palekar is based on indigenous cow. It reduces the dependence of farmers on the market as the farmers can prepare all the farm inputs with the indigenous cow’s dung, urine, jaggery, gram flour and locally sourced leaves at the farm itself. The natural farming produce is healthy and nutritious as no chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used in this agriculture technique. The benefits of the technique for sustainable agriculture have been validated by studies by the State Project Implementing Unit (SPIU) as well as outside agencies in Himachal Pradesh.