CPI(M) threatens agitation over problems to apple growers

Shimla: With the BJP government adopting an indifferent attitude to  the problems of the apple growers on which the entire livelihood of the farmers is based, the CPI-M has come in support of the growers and castigated the BJP government for its abject failure to mitigate the woes of apple growers.

District president of Himachal Kisan Sabha Sanjay Singh Chauhan held a news conference that tall claims and rhetoric of the BJP has been belied and the party badly exposed for its pro-trader and anti-farmer character.

”Instead of meeting the demands of the farmers especially the apple growers the government is unleashing a false campaign regarding its achievement,” he said.

The CPI-M indicted the BJP government for the worst ever callous administration in the state that has not even an iota of concern for the people’s woes and problems. It charged the BJP with criminal negligence that has resulted in a loss of crores of rupees to the farmers.

Horticulture department in the month of June 2010 had estimated an apple crop of over 3.25 crore boxes . Further they had forwarded a demand of over 1,200 trucks daily but the government instead sat on the request and did not take notice of it, Mr Chauhan said.

The government allowed the marketing of apple boxes and trays by the private houses who formed a cartel and black marketed both the boxes and trays. The situation got further accentuated by the closure of Gumma carton factory that used to act as a buffer in the price stabilisation.

He said that an apple carton that used to cost Rs 25-30 has shot up to Rs 45-60 . Similarly the prices of trays have also gone up from Rs 2.95 to Rs 6.50 from the semi auto plants and from Rs 4.95 to Rs 7.50-8.00 per tray from the automatic plants.

The BJP government withdrew from its responsibility and the two nodal agencies the HPMC and HIMFED were scuttled which created a situation that there was and presently is acute shortage of carton and trays in the market.

This further resulted into delay in the plucking of the crop and fetched an abysmally low prices for the apples, in fact the worst ones since last many years. A box of apple that previously used to fetch some Rs 1,000 is not being sold for just Rs 140-550 in the market.

The CPI-M has asked the government about the wisdom that led to closure of the Gumma carton factory that used to produce some 30,000 cartons in an hour. The government has deliberately closed the Gumma factory to facilitate the carton cartels and loot the farmers, he alleged.

CPI-M ridiculed the BJP government for its self acclaimed title of government of roads. There can be no fallacy near to claim such a title. The NH22 is its worst form that carries the apple produce from Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi and Shimla districts.

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