Shimla: Presiding over a review meeting of apple season arrangements with senior officers of district administration, PWD, police and Horticulture department Narender Bragta, Himachal Horticulture Minister said that more than 90 lakh apple boxes has been transported to various markets during the ongoing apple season from the state.
He said that over 60 lac apple boxes had been transported from Shimla district only. Besides, about 3600 MT apples had been procured under market intervention scheme, (MIS) he added.
He said the government has taken various effective steps to ensure proper arrangements for the apple season and special emphasis had been laid to ensure timely repair and maintenance of roads damaged due to heavy rains.
He said that directions had been issued to concerned authorities to ensure the availability of trucks to the apple growers on demand and carry out the repair and maintenance of roads. He said that the concerned authorities were taking stock of the situation everyday.
Bragta said around 1000 apple boxes were being transported every day from the State and so far more than 90 lakh apple boxes had been sent to different markets engaging about 19 thousand trucks. He said that trucks were being made available to the growers as per their demand and proper arrangements had been made for additional trucks for which Darlaghat, Barmana and many Truck Unions of Punjab has been contacted.
The Minister said that extra police personnel have been deployed for clearing the traffic jams on specific points. He said that dozer, cranes and heavy machineries had been pressed into service in different roads in Shimla district at land slide prone areas.
He said the state government has fixed the apple transportation rates and stern action would be initiated against those transporters who would violate the rates.
Suresh Bhardwaj, Rakesh Verma and Khushi Ram Balnatah, MLA’s from Shimla district were also present in the meeting and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements for apple season.
Meanwhile opposition Congress came down heavily on the BJP government and lashed out for the poor preparedness of the state government leaving apple growers in the lurch for absence of trucks and bad roads in the apple producing areas.
Congress spokesman Kuldeep Rathore said, thousands of apples boxes were held up in many apple growing areas because most rural roads were blocked. Apple harvest was at its peak and transporters were not going to the interiors because of bad condition of roads.
Sanjay Chauhan, general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Fruit and Vegetable Growers Confederation said growers are being harrassed for arranging trucks.The pending demand for trucks from Rampur, Dalash, Rohroo, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Kotkhai, Chopal, Nankhari, Theog and other apple growing areas has crossed 1150 trucks, he said.
Chauhan said farmer were being charged 8 to 10 times more freight than what happens to be the normal prevailing rates and the government was simply issuing statements in the media which showed it has no knowledge about the realities on ground and the problems being faced by the farmers.
He said traffic jams were a regular feature in the apple belt and truckers have started avoiding coming because of the poor road conditions.