The Congress has accused the BJP-led state government in Himachal Pradesh of being insensitive to the concerns of the apple growers, who, it said play a significant role in the state’s economy.
The party said that with the cost of production growing horticulture has become a loss-making profession.
Addressing the media, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president, Naresh Chauhan, on Tuesday, blamed the Jai Ram Thakur government of ignoring the concerns of the apple growers and the Rs 3,000 Crore apple economy of the state.
Chauhan alleged that in the last five years, the BJP government did not care for the apple growers and as a result they are left to fend for themselves. So much so that today the apple growers are in a dire straight while the Horticulture Minister and Chief Minister who claim to be farmers have no clue about the solution to their issues.
He pointed out that the government has drastically increased the prices of fertilizers used in apple orchards. The prices of insecticides and fungicides used in orchards have also been increased manifold. The prices of fertilizers, which were Rs 800 two years ago, have reached to Rs 1,700 today.
Earlier, the orchardists used to get subsidy, but now since the subsidy has been withdrawn and the apple growers are forced to buy insecticides and pesticides from the open market.
No wonder the price of packaging carton has gone up to Rs 80 while the packaging tray is costlier by Rs 3. This has a direct impact on the apple growers. He said the hike in the GST rate on cartons by the Central Government has further hit the orchardists.
He lamented that payment to the apple growers is long overdue. The government had procured the apples under the Market Intervention Scheme.