Hill Council for apple belt the only way forward

himachal_pradesh_map_S

The on-going apple season in Himachal Pradesh has put the entire livelihood of apple farmers at stake. The government’s indifference in handling the situation has been pathetic as only action happening is in the media where tall claims are being fed in daily statements by the ministers.

Earlier apple used to be a high paying crop, one reason people were well off in the apple belt. Nothing wrong in this as the money so earned was by of hard work in the orchards. Shanta Kumar once traveling through Kumarsain, seeing the sun lit roofs in Kotgarh, across the valley had quipped, ‘Yahan to chandi ki chatt lagi hain’. (People here have roofs of silver)

It is under this mind set that his party approaches the apple belt of the state. With time the apple producing areas in the state increased to Karsog and Balh valleys in Mandi district, Kullu, Kinnaur and far up to Chamba and Spiti. So what happened? Anywhere the apple came in the state, the area became an eyesore for this party.

Shanta Kumar’s earlier stint as Chief Minister was a disaster when he tried to bully the apple farmers. I had written about this in detail in my Hindi blog. Ninteen years is a long time to forget old hatred. With time new faces came into the BJP who talked a lot about ’emotional unity’ in the state. This time the apple belt too was generous with the BJP and handed over the three most prestigious seats in Shimla district with record margins including the state capital Shimla and two other seats, Jubbal Kotkhai and Rohru, which were earlier represented by former Congress chief ministers.

For the first time the Congress was confined to Kumarsain, Rampur and Choupal. Else all seats went to the BJP. This was a sign of maturity on part of the voters in the district which still after the Shanta experience voted for the BJP.

What all happened in this harvest season is there for everyone to see. Though the voters showed maturity on their part, the party still could not shed off it’s hatred to the people in apple belt.

Shockingly, the BJP government has now resorted to full blown lies. The entire government and party machinery is mouthing lies day in and out which has resulted in anger in the entire apple belt.

It is not only the Shimla district which is bearing the brunt but the situation is the same in Mandi, Kullu and Kinnaur districts. Above all the government response in the assembly was an eye opener.

BJP MLA, Renu Chaddha said on record that the government had priorities other than the apple season. Speaking about traffic jams in Shimla district she said what was wrong with these? Traffic jams are a sign of progress.

This is the mind-set with which the BJP government is working. What other priorities the govt has when entire economy of people of three districts is at stake? Renu Chaddha is a big hotelier and runs a four star hotel in her home town. One can very well imagine how much she is in sync with the realities of rural and farm life.

Life may look rosy when seen from the prism of a star hotel. But ask the farmers who slog day in and out around the year and then are justified the problem of jams as sign of progress!!

We, apple growers look at these hotelier turned politicians with a pinch of salt. Shanta Kumar was one of them. (He owns a hotel in Palampur)

Running a hotel and dealing with farmers cannot be equated madam!!

This indifference of the state government will ultimately prove costly for everyone. Already hill people are debating what lies ahead in future. There has been no real development in  this part of the state.

Both the BJP and the Congress has been playing football with the people. Every five years they exchange places.

While BJP has not minced any words and action in it’s hatred to the hill people, the Congress all these years simply did nothing for the area.

Be it the Raja or the Madam or anyone else, they have simply used the people as vote bank to enjoy power in Shimla for such a long time.

No real development in the area will occur in this ping pong match between BJP and Congress. Both the Congress and BJP are now being run as private limited parties with ‘families’ controlling the entire power in the state. Common people will not get any development in this struggle between these two ‘royals.’

Only way the people in apple producing areas can have some say in governance is by forming a Hill Council as has been done in Darjeeling in West Bengal. The Gorkhas, after being neglected by the mainland Bengalis have finally managed a say in the administration.

Though Hill Council can be a viable alternative to get rid of the apathy of the Congress / BJP governments, it is something which will not be handed on platter. People will have to really fight for it.

Already the ground is getting prepared as hill people are being pushed to the wall. People here have long been taken for granted.

The experience shows it is only when the stones are pelted that the government wakes up!

What do you say? Speak up in comments below.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

22 Responses to "Hill Council for apple belt the only way forward"

  1. Juiin   September 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Well said Nityin. I am with you on the Hill Council issue. I remember, somebody on Facebook had proposed issuing of Visas to people going to the Upper Shimla area. Though it must have been said in jest, but the areas have become inaccessible.

    The government is sleeping and madam Renu Chadha should be given a kick on her arse, for giving such a comment. If traffic jams are a sign of progression then a kick on her arse too is a sign of progression.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      If you ever go to her home town, you will find the kind of terror she has spread there. Another hotelier (from manali) had dared to built a hotel next to hers. Once BJP came into power, she started creating problems for this guy and finally he had to get relief from High Court to get the hotel opened. The best part of her family is she is in BJP and her brother in law is a Congressman. So what ever be the election results, power remains within the family.. A ‘true’ politician family!!

      Reply
  2. Juiin   September 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Well said Nityin. I am with you on the Hill Council issue. I remember, somebody on Facebook had proposed issuing of Visas to people going to the Upper Shimla area. Though it must have been said in jest, but the areas have become inaccessible.

    The government is sleeping and madam Renu Chadha should be given a kick on her arse, for giving such a comment. If traffic jams are a sign of progression then a kick on her arse too is a sign of progression.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      If you ever go to her home town, you will find the kind of terror she has spread there. Another hotelier (from manali) had dared to built a hotel next to hers. Once BJP came into power, she started creating problems for this guy and finally he had to get relief from High Court to get the hotel opened. The best part of her family is she is in BJP and her brother in law is a Congressman. So what ever be the election results, power remains within the family.. A ‘true’ politician family!!

      Reply
  3. VarunM   September 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Well said.
    Found this http://himachal.nic.in/finance/budget.htm
    Economic Survey Statistical Data 2009-10
    Good way to compare this govt. and previous on hard facts.
    The Roads section is interesting, only 476 KM of roads have been added since last year. And only 6 KM of Double Lane since 2008.

    I sometimes wonder could the Upper Belt of the state along with Kinnaur Spiti just become a separate state as (the Gorkhaland situation)
    The economy will be quite sustainable, just look at the amount of HydroMoney generated by the state, it could be even more,
    and international tourism potential (recreational and scientific/geological etc) is beyond anyone in this country/Asian-region can dream of.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      Very well said Varun.. Infact getting a statehood will be a problem as these 4-5 districts out of 12 won’t qualify. More over it’s our forefathers who were the original inhabitants of Himachal Pradesh. I wanted to add the sustainability factor about finances from the hydropower in my article but refrained as the article had grown very long.

      Money so received from the hydro companies can be better realised than by using this for maintaining the helicopter or buying super luxury cars for the ministers and the officials.

      Reply
  4. VarunM   September 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Well said.
    Found this http://himachal.nic.in/finance/budget.htm
    Economic Survey Statistical Data 2009-10
    Good way to compare this govt. and previous on hard facts.
    The Roads section is interesting, only 476 KM of roads have been added since last year. And only 6 KM of Double Lane since 2008.

    I sometimes wonder could the Upper Belt of the state along with Kinnaur Spiti just become a separate state as (the Gorkhaland situation)
    The economy will be quite sustainable, just look at the amount of HydroMoney generated by the state, it could be even more,
    and international tourism potential (recreational and scientific/geological etc) is beyond anyone in this country/Asian-region can dream of.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      Very well said Varun.. Infact getting a statehood will be a problem as these 4-5 districts out of 12 won’t qualify. More over it’s our forefathers who were the original inhabitants of Himachal Pradesh. I wanted to add the sustainability factor about finances from the hydropower in my article but refrained as the article had grown very long.

      Money so received from the hydro companies can be better realised than by using this for maintaining the helicopter or buying super luxury cars for the ministers and the officials.

      Reply
  5. VarunM   September 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    “If traffic jams are a sign of progression” then i guess the Chinese 120 KM long traffic jam recently should make them the greatest super power to have ever existed in the known Universe, what moronic and nonsensical talk was that, did she really say that?
    If There was overwhelming majority say like 80%+ in favor of a separate state in these districts, even then no chance?
    The state’s GDP according to the data is increasing about 10% year on year, so why can’t it be invested in sectors which provides it with most sustainability (% of GDP directly as well indirectly which will be huge if calculated precisely),
    more bizarre still, if money isn’t being invested in this sector then where is this 10% growth coming from?
    (even fruit and crop produce have shown growth i am puzzled at this)

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      This is a clash between the corrupt politicians (of both parties) and the doubly corrupt babudom in the state. I don’t think we have a problem staying with other people of the state. It is only these power brokers who have brought things to such low level that people here need participation in the administrative machinary. It cannot happen till the time you have red and green caps controlling the power. One reason, why these topiwala will not be able to control the council is who ever is in power will try and crush this demand. And do you seriously believe these figures dished out by the govt. They are selling all resources in the state so that their choppers keep flying, those luxury cars remain on road.

      Reply
  6. VarunM   September 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    “If traffic jams are a sign of progression” then i guess the Chinese 120 KM long traffic jam recently should make them the greatest super power to have ever existed in the known Universe, what moronic and nonsensical talk was that, did she really say that?
    If There was overwhelming majority say like 80%+ in favor of a separate state in these districts, even then no chance?
    The state’s GDP according to the data is increasing about 10% year on year, so why can’t it be invested in sectors which provides it with most sustainability (% of GDP directly as well indirectly which will be huge if calculated precisely),
    more bizarre still, if money isn’t being invested in this sector then where is this 10% growth coming from?
    (even fruit and crop produce have shown growth i am puzzled at this)

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      This is a clash between the corrupt politicians (of both parties) and the doubly corrupt babudom in the state. I don’t think we have a problem staying with other people of the state. It is only these power brokers who have brought things to such low level that people here need participation in the administrative machinary. It cannot happen till the time you have red and green caps controlling the power. One reason, why these topiwala will not be able to control the council is who ever is in power will try and crush this demand. And do you seriously believe these figures dished out by the govt. They are selling all resources in the state so that their choppers keep flying, those luxury cars remain on road.

      Reply
  7. Amar Singh   September 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Virtual intention of the bjp govt. against the apple belt stands exposed this year. All facilities were assured at the time of start of the season but there was no end of woes as soon as it picked up pace. People were ruined when their bumper crop over-riped and rotted in front of their eyes due to non availability of packing material, bad roads, and non availability of adequate transportation. You have rightly said that the BJP and Congress is playing a match and exchange sides after 5 years. Time has come when these hill people are realizing that they are being crushed between the”rajnitibaaz” wearing red caps and green caps because both of them are chips of the same block. Hill Council will be a very good alternative so that the voice of people generating 3000 crores industry is heard.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      The horticulture department had come out with a figure of 3.5 crore box production this year. Now, if you do the math, if the govt ministers and babus were getting just Rs. 1/ on every carton sold by the private companies how much money is being minted. If it is 5/ per carton or if it is 20/ per carton, you can very well imagine how much money is coming into the kitty.

      Reply
  8. Amar Singh   September 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Virtual intention of the bjp govt. against the apple belt stands exposed this year. All facilities were assured at the time of start of the season but there was no end of woes as soon as it picked up pace. People were ruined when their bumper crop over-riped and rotted in front of their eyes due to non availability of packing material, bad roads, and non availability of adequate transportation. You have rightly said that the BJP and Congress is playing a match and exchange sides after 5 years. Time has come when these hill people are realizing that they are being crushed between the”rajnitibaaz” wearing red caps and green caps because both of them are chips of the same block. Hill Council will be a very good alternative so that the voice of people generating 3000 crores industry is heard.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   September 8, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      The horticulture department had come out with a figure of 3.5 crore box production this year. Now, if you do the math, if the govt ministers and babus were getting just Rs. 1/ on every carton sold by the private companies how much money is being minted. If it is 5/ per carton or if it is 20/ per carton, you can very well imagine how much money is coming into the kitty.

      Reply
  9. Vikramsthakur   September 15, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Interesting thought………. This sounds like a call for Azadi….:)… I only wonder what difference would it make. . . Before Dhumal most CMs have been from my constituency or my neighbouring one…. Yet, Theog to Rohru is undoubtedly the worst ever road – not just now but for donkeys years…… Virbhadra Singh, Stokes, Ram Lal and other tom, dicks and Harry’s were one of us… I don’t think anyone ever thinks about Sirmour (no apple, no economy, no water totally in shambles – yet it is the district of our states most respected founding father -Mr.Parmar…. Allllll these luminaries did not seem to to have provided the basic infrastructure in their own constituencies when they were CMs……. (Apart from the rubble tracks that came up all over the district during Ram Lal’s time (still rubble tracks) )nothing much has been added. . .

    In the light of the above what is the hope that Azaadi can bring accountability to the above named and they can deliver… HP is a relatively small state with small population still we are struggling… A new state or council can get even worst… not unviable but look at the size of India – our issues are no where near anyone’s years… we only send 4 MPs to the centre :)….

    The biggest keeda that is killing hindoostan the great is corruption at petty levels – as i say in hindi – an average Indian is selling his zameer tooooo cheap….. and Himachal seems to be catching up with rest of the country … Not the greatest performance indicator….

    Reply
  10. Himachal Live   September 16, 2010 at 5:14 am

    The idea is not the Azadi aka Kashmir but yes it is something where administrative control is handed over to the locals. You have said the same thing that no one has cared for infrastructure development in the state. It is time to look for alternative. Apple economy is a backbone for people of half the districts in the state and there seems a very open approach to change the way of our life by hurting our interests. It’s time to take control, atleast think on these lines.

    Moreover, this demand is under the gambit of the constitution. Hill council is already functioning in Darjleeing.

    Reply
  11. Ramesh   September 19, 2010 at 4:32 am

    Hill Council is not the only answer to this problem. The problems that we are facing today can be effectively tackled with a determined and concerete actions on the part of the government. Lack of foresight on the part of the government and the bureaucracy is the root cause of all such problems.

    Reply
  12. Amit   October 7, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Hi there,
    The main issue the state is facing is the infrastructural development. Major cities of Himachal are on river side. As now, the situation is severe. I dont know wht the hell the govt is doing. Next problem is Road connectivity. NH22 and NH21 are not yet 4 laned. Even the upper himachal road condition are so bad that you can see the mettled road for many km. Why govt. is just concentrating on UNA, Mandi, Dharamshala like areas. Why not Upper Shimla, Kinnaur, Rohru areas. Its high time now. It is the social and moral responsibilty of the govt to do the development equally in the complete state and not only into thr area of interest.

    Reply
  13. hitanshu   December 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Finally I have some like minded people.

    Reply
  14. hitanshu   December 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Hey Nityin,

    I agree to concept in general but maybe the way forward is divergent. 

    The fact is we have elected district councils but they have no real powers. This is what is making the situation difficult. If the district councils have more powers and the state government is only authorized to deal with larger issues like interstate and national level matters then a lot of the concerns raised by you can easily be addressed. 

    In reality  today even to get basic utilities in the village – water, sanitation, electricity, roads- we are dependent on the state government while realistically they ought to be handled at the panchayat levels. Similarly district level roads and such issues should be handled there, but our governance system is lopsided.

    Everywhere in the world local councils have much more powers than those supposedly with the empowered village panchayats. 

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.