Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Chief, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday asked Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur to immediately intervene and arrange for transportation of apples in Himachal Pradesh.
Talking to media persons here, Sukhu said he had written a letter to the chief minister in this regard in view of the truckers’ strike.
He said the apple season has begun and it was time for farmers to market the produce outside the state. However, the truckers’ strike has left them high and dry and they were not able to transport it for marketing.
“The government must take appropriate steps at the earliest. Any delay will shatter the apple economy this year and apple growers will incur huge losses,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention that the apple production in Himachal is tipped to be lesser this year due to hostile weather, dry spell followed by a rainy summer with and hail storms that damaged the crop. The state that witnessed half the production of apples in 2017 may reap even lesser crop in 2018 with
certain pockets of Shimla, which produce 70 per cent of the total crop in HP, badly affected.
The growers although get good prices in the market when the crop is lesser, the truckers strike at the crucial time when the apples are ready to be plucked and sold has left the farmers worried.
The apple economy of Himachal annually runs into 4,000 crore, with 1.5 lakh families associated with it in Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and Kinnaur.
Apples from different parts of Himachal start flooding the market in Chandigarh and Delhi mid-July onwards. Kinnaur apple comes last, in October.
The state generally contributes 40 per cent of total apple production in India, followed by Kashmir, which is at the top with 50 per cent production.