The chief minister was replying to the four-day discussion on the state’s general budget for the year 2024-25 in the Assembly on Thursday.
The trial run of transporting apple boxes with the help of a drone was successfully accomplished in Nichar village of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Monday.
The apple-rich district produces around 37 lakh apple boxes annually, which are usually transported from the remote areas to the markets in trucks by roads. Given the tough terrains, transportation of apples by roads is never a smooth proposition.
Vegrow Company in coordination with the Gram Panchayat representatives of Nichar village and apple growers transported apple boxes with the help of a drone from inaccessible higher reaches of Nichar Kande to the mini stadium connected by road.
Apple growers are upbeat. Nichar Gram Panchayat Up-Pradhan Jagdev Negi said that with the help of drones, apple boxes were easily transported from a distance of 10 to 12 kilometers by air route, which has a shorter distance.
Dinesh Negi, Manager with Vegrow Company, said that boxes of apples, weighing about 12 to 18 kilograms were transported from Chhota Kanda Nichar to Mini Stadium at Nichar with the help of a drone.
“Total time taken to transport the apple box was six minutes. Otherwise, it takes four to five hours to transport apple boxes manually by porters or labourers. The trial run of a bigger drone, having the capacity to lift four boxes, will also be conducted soon,” he added, saying that the use of drones will significantly reduce the transportation cost.
After Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh is the second largest producer of apples in the country. The state produces about 6.25 lakh MT of apples which constitutes 28.55 per cent of the total apple production in the country. This year the total production of apples has been pegged at three crore boxes by the Horticulture Department.