Expressing solidarity with the protesting apple growers of Himachal Pradesh, Aam Admi Party (AAP) has demanded rollback of GST on carton boxes.
Addressing media persons here on Wednesday, the AAP Farmers’ Wing, Himachal President, Aninder Singh Notty, accused the BJP governments at the Centre and the state of being anti-farmer.
He said, “Due to the wrong policies of the BJP government the apple farmers of the state are suffering. The price of the packaging material of apples has gone up drastically.”
Pointing out that the packaging charges for apples have exceeded by Rs 300 per box, he said the farmers can’t afford the price. “Besides, the rates of fertilizers and pesticides have also increased during the tenure of BJP government, the increase in inflation is hitting the farmers the hard,” he added.
The apple growers have been agitating for the last 15 days for their demands. He said the government is not paying any attention to their problems. It should immediately reduce the GST on the packing material of apples or provide relief to them by giving subsidy,.
He recalled that the Union government had promised to double the income of farmers by 2022. But instead it doubled the expenses of the farmers and due to this inflation their income has been halved. This proves that the government is completely anti-farmer and anti-horticulturist, he charged.
The prices of cartons and trays were not increased so much since independence. “Mohan Fiber’s quality tray was available for Rs 5 till last year. Now it is being sold for Rs 8 for a tray. For packing apples, six to seven trays are used per box. Now, Rs 48 to 54 is being charged per box of tray. The total cost of transporting 20 to 25 kg boxes to the market, including cartons, grading, packing, freight, is costing 300 to 400 rupees,” he explained.
The BJP government has increased the rate of GST on cartons from 12 to 18 percent, due to this the prices of cartons have increased tremendously, he said, adding that the bundle of 100 trays which was getting Rs 450 to 550 last year, this year is now costing 700 to 800 rupees per bundle.