In wake of the hike in the price of the apple cartons ahead of the apple season, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded that the state government provide relief to the apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh.
Alleging the government of being anti-farmer AAP, Himachal spokesperson Gaurav Sharma has threatened to launch an agitation if the state government failed to take cognizance of their demand.
He said that the hike in apple cartons has been hiked by Rs 15 to Rs 20 ahead of the apple season and it is a big jolt to the apple growers who depend on the apple crop for their livelihood.
This is a cause of concern to the apple growers, who are already facing difficulties in transporting their apple produce to the various markets within and outside the state, he added.
“The apple growers are already grappling with bad road conditions in the upper Shimla district. Apart from this, due to the rising oil prices, the truck operators are also charging high prices to transport the apple produce to the various markets,” he said.
Sharma charged the state government of being insensitive toward the concerns of the horticulturists in the state.
The condition of the roads should be improved soon, otherwise, they will be forced to hold agitation, he threatened.
Sharma said that the AAP is concerned about the horticulturists because apple production is the mainstay of Himachal’s economy, which accounts for about Rs 5000 crore rupees of the state’s economy.
“The apple industry is a means of livelihood for lakhs of families in the state. AAP will make a concrete policy for them, which will include minimum support price (MIS), grading packaging facility, safe transportation of the apple produce to the mandis, and providing packaging boxes at affordable prices, he added.
The government should also curb the fraud and fleecing of apple growers by the agents and suitable measures should be taken by the district administration and APMC while granting licenses to the agents and also make surprise inspections during the apple season, he demanded.
“Apart from this, the import of apples from abroad should be stopped and the apples should be procured from the growers through MIS and at rates at par with Kashmir,” he said.