Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Fruit And Vegetable Growers Confederation today came down heavily on the BJP government for the closure and selling of AIPIL carton factory at Pragati Nagar in Shimla District.
In a signed statement, General Secretary of the Confederation, Sanjay Chauhan said the successive state governments have miserably failed to run this factory properly. He said the growers always preferred the cartons produced by this factory than the private manufacturers because of it’s best quality.
Chauhan said due to this factory, growers were assured of a proper supply of cartons on demand and there was no shortage of cartons in the previous years. But after the closure and the decision of the present BJP Govt. to dispose it off,there was open loot by private manufacturers who were hand in glove with the BJP leaders. He said the present govt. remained silent spectator under pressure as seen and evident this year. The growers have to suffer big losses due to this open loot, he added.
Chauhan said the present govt. has come with the proposal to dispose it off and was making multifarious announcements to establish processing plant, cold store and now the govt. is saying that it will open an engineering college on the same land. This clearly indicates that the present BJP is anti farmers and has failed to protect the interests of the farmers of the state.
He said 10 years back the BJP govt. with same Chief Minister and Horticulture Minister in ruling had signed a MOU on 11th April, 2000 with Maharashtra based Indage group to put wineries with total processing capacity of 18000 tonnes at Pragati Nagar and Nagwain and valuable land worth many crores was given free of cost to this group along with excise exemption till 10 years.
He said at that time big dreams were sold to the growers with even bigger publicity. But the Indage group did not put any winery and grabbed this precious land out of which 28 bighas of land was of AIPIL carton factory. The Indage Group enjoyed excise exemption worth crores of rupees without any producing unit putting huge loss to state exchequer, which needs to be enquired into and those responsible for the loss to the public income must be booked and punished accordingly.
It was very depressing that the govt. is using and disposing this precious land sacrificed by the small and marginal farmers of the area at very low price to put this significant corrugated carton factory of utmost use to the fruit growers just for nothing to industrial houses with the motive to grab the valuable resources like land in the state. If the state govt. Is interested to open engineering college in the area then there is plenty of govt. land vacant in the surrounding where it can be opened, Chauhan said.
This factory was established to provide quality cardboard cartons to fruit growers of the state, which was used as best alternative for conventional wooden boxes used for packaging. The main aim and objective behind the establishment of this carton factory was to discourage the dependence of growers on forest for packing material and protect the environment and preserve the forest for future. The growers after establishment of this carton factory immediately switched over to cartons and there was great demand of the cartons being produced in AIPIL carton factory.