The Farmers’ Forum, on Wednesday, held a demonstration to intensify their resentment against the alleged anti-farmer policies of the state government at various places in the apple belt across Himachal Pradesh.
Around 24 farmer unions under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Manch (SKM) staged protests at Rohru, Theog, Kotkhai, Narkanda, Rampur of Shimla district, Nirmand in Kullu, Kinnaur and Mandi districts.
They have also warned of holding a massive agitation on August 5, outside the State Secretariat in Shimla if their demands were not met by the government.
The protesting farmers attributed the increase in the cost of production to the government policies of imposing tax on the apple farmers due to which they are not getting the proper price for their produce,
They lamented that the government has not paid heed to their demands despite repeated representation and memorandum. They regretted that the government is not even ready for dialogue. This has created a crisis in the state’s economy which has incurred a loss amounting to Rs 5,500 crore.
SKM co-ordinator, Sanjay Chauhan said that their demands include withdrawal of the rise in GST from 12 percent to 18 percent on cartons. Subsidy should be given on fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, trays, and other items, he said.
They have called for implementing the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) scheme on the lines of Kashmir.
The strict implementation of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) laws in the state was also demanded by the forum.
Chauhan further demanded release of pending payments to the apple growers for their produce by APMC and Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC).