Himachal apple carton factory closure opposed by fruit growers

The proposal of the Himachal Pradesh government to sell-off the Agro-Industrial Packaging India Limited (AIPIL) carton factory at Gumma in Shimla district has drawn sharp reactions from apple growers in the area.

President of the HP Fruit Growers Association, Ravinder Chauhan, in a statement said the production of the cartons at the factory was stopped two years back. This adversely affected the prices of the cartons as private companies have increased the prices by 25-30%. The federation would launch agitation in case the government does not withdraw the move to sell the factory, he said.

himachal apple cartons Sanjay Chauhan, President of the Himachal Kisan Sabha also said the Kisan Sabha will oppose the closure of the factory as it will leave the fruit growers at the mercy of the private companies. Already farmers are facing problems in getting good quality cartons in the market, he added.

Narender Bragta, who is the local MLA and state horticulture and technical education minister is keen on opening a ITI in the premises.

The market value of the machinery at the factory is reported to be at Rs. 3 crores. In a single tender bid the government has received a bid of Rs. 70 lakhs from a Meerut based firm, sources revealed.

Local people too are against the outright closure and demanding opening of a CA store instead if running the factory is no more feasible.  There is no CA store in the entire region and opening of the one can fetch good prices in the market to the growers.

The AIPIL was setup in 1989 to produce cardboard cartons for packaging of apples, once use of wooden boxes was banned. These cartons were sold initially on subsidy to the growers. Once the subsidy bill of the government increased, the production was reduced in later years. But mounting expenses in the form of wages and other expenditure were not reduced resulting in overall bankruptcy of the factory.

Overall production at the factory has remained under-utilized in the past and no production has happened in the last two years. Total apple produced in Himachal was 16 million cartons in 2009, 26 million in 2008 and the maximum was in the year 2006 when this figure touched 28.6 million cartons.

Yet, the AIPIL carton factory is on the verge of closure!!

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10 Responses to "Himachal apple carton factory closure opposed by fruit growers"

  1. Varun   December 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Can’t it be bought and operated by some village society Or a possible similar solution rather than complete closure and no alternative?
    Alternatives provide competition which in turn cuts the prices down the line.
    Don’t know why par is news ko dekh ke i remembered that rally that took place in Shanta Kumar’s time.The stories that i was told about that, lol.Classic!

    Reply
    • Kenny Chauhan   December 27, 2009 at 7:21 pm

      Dear Varun,

      Nice thought about alternative solutions. This is what has been done by first Virbhadra Singh govt. and now Dhumal govt. There are no takers. Not even the very people opposing the move. Because any such exercise involves atleast Rs. 100 crores! Secondly, this would be privatisation. Although I do not mind private parties like individual growers and societies etc.

      Consider this. The self-styled leaders, issuing statements against the closure of carton factory, have never used and bought the Gumma carton! So much for this cause.
      .-= Kenny Chauhan´s last blog ..Socializing your feed with Twitter =-.

      Reply
  2. Varun   December 27, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Can’t it be bought and operated by some village society Or a possible similar solution rather than complete closure and no alternative?
    Alternatives provide competition which in turn cuts the prices down the line.
    Don’t know why par is news ko dekh ke i remembered that rally that took place in Shanta Kumar’s time.The stories that i was told about that, lol.Classic!

    Reply
    • Kenny Chauhan   December 28, 2009 at 12:21 am

      Dear Varun,

      Nice thought about alternative solutions. This is what has been done by first Virbhadra Singh govt. and now Dhumal govt. There are no takers. Not even the very people opposing the move. Because any such exercise involves atleast Rs. 100 crores! Secondly, this would be privatisation. Although I do not mind private parties like individual growers and societies etc.

      Consider this. The self-styled leaders, issuing statements against the closure of carton factory, have never used and bought the Gumma carton! So much for this cause.
      .-= Kenny Chauhan´s last blog ..Socializing your feed with Twitter =-.

      Reply
  3. Kenny Chauhan   December 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Dear Nityin,

    I keep following you most of the time, even though I do not respond trough comments. I like most of your stuff.

    Today, I am in disagreement. The whole tone of this write up is not good. It is not based on facts.

    1) The article suggests that the farmers are up in arms against the closure of the carton factory. The very title sets this tone. May I remind you that an average farmer has not opposed this move. It is only a few disgruntled and disillusioned people who are making insignificant noises through the media. These self- styled (elected by about 50 politically aligned farmers)and self-seeking individuals, posing as leaders of the farmers have no public standing amongst the people of apple growing area. They have no moral authority to call themselves as representatives of apple growers.

    2) The production of cartons has not stopped in the last two years! This has been suggested in the above statement of one self styled Mr. Nobody. Please check the facts and print them here. The only motive of this person is to suggest that the BJP is anti-apple. Spreading lies does not make it true.

    3) About the threat of launching an agitation, please feel free to pass my message to these people, do it. Everybody will come to know that it is not an issue concerning farmers, but it is a personal political agenda of two (I should say ‘three’)people.

    4) Let’s see where the congress and BJP stand on this issue. The two agree, officially. This process of closure was started by Virbhadra Singh himself. The factory had stopped production. These self styled leaders of farmers did not utter a word then. In 2008, the legislators of apple growing areas met during the Assembly session and decided (it’s official and on record) that the factory be closed for good. The leader of the opposition, Mrs. Stokes was a strong votary of this. I think, it is the the Congress and the BJP which represents the interests of the apple growers.

    5) You report that the Hon’ble Minister is keen on opening an ITI on the premises! Where on earth did you get this idea. An ITI!? I cannot stomach this. The minister is on record and consistent that the premises will never be given to the private sector and that it will be used for either Horticultural activity (the suggestion of CA store can be an option, fruit processing plant is another option)or for educational purpose in the government sector or for some other public good.

    6) The last paragraph of your write up is a bit mischievous. You give the apple production figures and link it to the carton factory! You should have first and foremost given the production of cartons by this Gumma plant from its inception to today. Only a cursory look at these figures will tell you the whole truth. The entire argument of these self-styled and self-seeking individuals will be disproved.

    7) Last, but the most important point. The BJP govt. with Shri Narinder Bragta as the Horticulture Minister left office in 2003. The operating profit was Rs 5 crores! The factory and the govt machinery was successful. Again, the BJP assumed power in 2008 and the factory had accumulated losses to the tune of Rs. 53 crores!! Rs. 60 crores went down the drain in the 5 years of congrees rule!!!!! Now the QUESTION (for every citizen of Himachal and every APPLE GROWER and especially these self-seeking, media-friendly individuals) is WHY and HOW did the Rs. 5 crore profit turn into Rs. 50 odd crore loss in 5 years??????? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Whether it is ‘Naukarshahi’ or the ‘Raj Netas’or both, the people responsible for this sorry and sad state of affairs should be held responsible and money be recovered from them and they be sent to prison. This is in the interest of the farmer, the apple growers.

    Nityin, I hope you agree. Those who read this, please be free to tell me your view, whatever it may be.

    Thanks for the patient listening. Happy X’mas and many Good Apple Years to you.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm

      Kenny ji

      Many thanks for reading and for your comments. No where in the article it is mentioned that BJP govt is responsible for the mess at AIPIL nor is it to intended to give this sort of impression.

      The ITI idea at the premises has been in the air for sometime and the idea of CA store too is being floated around.

      Regarding the statements of the leaders mentioned in the write-up I would not be able to comment on this. As for the production at the factory for last two years, what I discovered that there is no electricity connection in the factory as it was discontinued in the Congress regime.

      The last paragraph is intended in the story to let the people know how govt sector undertaking ‘do’ business. It can be a matter of debate who made a mess of this factory, depending on which side of the political arena one supports but it is a truth that this factory is a classic case of how govt. undertakings function when they have politicians and buerocrats in the driving seat.

      Thanks for clearing the air that the factory was in profit during the BJP’s last tenure. I think the present BJP government should bring a white paper on the overall functioning and closure of this factory.

      BTW, in the press conference on 26th December, this is what has been reported in the Indian Express:

      “When he was asked as to why the BJP was going back on its promise listed in the election manifesto, which was adopted as policy document of the government, Bragta almost lost temper. Besides many other things, he said: “We had meant the factory would be started if it looked profitable.” As it was pointed out that there were no ifs and buts in the manifesto, Bragta said: “Manifesto mein to bahut kuch likha hota hai (a lot of things are said in manifestoes).” When asked whether he was saying it on the record, he checked himself and said after a pause: “Kaha suna maaf (forgive me if I said something that hurt anyone)”.

      http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Himachal-Confidential/560145/

      Now this is something which the BJP should clear. When the manifesto happens to be a policy document of the government, is it prudent to backtrack now without a viable alternative to the growers?

      Wishing you too a great New Year ahead.

      Reply
  4. Kenny Chauhan   December 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Dear Nityin,

    I keep following you most of the time, even though I do not respond trough comments. I like most of your stuff.

    Today, I am in disagreement. The whole tone of this write up is not good. It is not based on facts.

    1) The article suggests that the farmers are up in arms against the closure of the carton factory. The very title sets this tone. May I remind you that an average farmer has not opposed this move. It is only a few disgruntled and disillusioned people who are making insignificant noises through the media. These self- styled (elected by about 50 politically aligned farmers)and self-seeking individuals, posing as leaders of the farmers have no public standing amongst the people of apple growing area. They have no moral authority to call themselves as representatives of apple growers.

    2) The production of cartons has not stopped in the last two years! This has been suggested in the above statement of one self styled Mr. Nobody. Please check the facts and print them here. The only motive of this person is to suggest that the BJP is anti-apple. Spreading lies does not make it true.

    3) About the threat of launching an agitation, please feel free to pass my message to these people, do it. Everybody will come to know that it is not an issue concerning farmers, but it is a personal political agenda of two (I should say ‘three’)people.

    4) Let’s see where the congress and BJP stand on this issue. The two agree, officially. This process of closure was started by Virbhadra Singh himself. The factory had stopped production. These self styled leaders of farmers did not utter a word then. In 2008, the legislators of apple growing areas met during the Assembly session and decided (it’s official and on record) that the factory be closed for good. The leader of the opposition, Mrs. Stokes was a strong votary of this. I think, it is the the Congress and the BJP which represents the interests of the apple growers.

    5) You report that the Hon’ble Minister is keen on opening an ITI on the premises! Where on earth did you get this idea. An ITI!? I cannot stomach this. The minister is on record and consistent that the premises will never be given to the private sector and that it will be used for either Horticultural activity (the suggestion of CA store can be an option, fruit processing plant is another option)or for educational purpose in the government sector or for some other public good.

    6) The last paragraph of your write up is a bit mischievous. You give the apple production figures and link it to the carton factory! You should have first and foremost given the production of cartons by this Gumma plant from its inception to today. Only a cursory look at these figures will tell you the whole truth. The entire argument of these self-styled and self-seeking individuals will be disproved.

    7) Last, but the most important point. The BJP govt. with Shri Narinder Bragta as the Horticulture Minister left office in 2003. The operating profit was Rs 5 crores! The factory and the govt machinery was successful. Again, the BJP assumed power in 2008 and the factory had accumulated losses to the tune of Rs. 53 crores!! Rs. 60 crores went down the drain in the 5 years of congrees rule!!!!! Now the QUESTION (for every citizen of Himachal and every APPLE GROWER and especially these self-seeking, media-friendly individuals) is WHY and HOW did the Rs. 5 crore profit turn into Rs. 50 odd crore loss in 5 years??????? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Whether it is ‘Naukarshahi’ or the ‘Raj Netas’or both, the people responsible for this sorry and sad state of affairs should be held responsible and money be recovered from them and they be sent to prison. This is in the interest of the farmer, the apple growers.

    Nityin, I hope you agree. Those who read this, please be free to tell me your view, whatever it may be.

    Thanks for the patient listening. Happy X’mas and many Good Apple Years to you.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 28, 2009 at 11:43 pm

      Kenny ji

      Many thanks for reading and for your comments. No where in the article it is mentioned that BJP govt is responsible for the mess at AIPIL nor is it to intended to give this sort of impression.

      The ITI idea at the premises has been in the air for sometime and the idea of CA store too is being floated around.

      Regarding the statements of the leaders mentioned in the write-up I would not be able to comment on this. As for the production at the factory for last two years, what I discovered that there is no electricity connection in the factory as it was discontinued in the Congress regime.

      The last paragraph is intended in the story to let the people know how govt sector undertaking ‘do’ business. It can be a matter of debate who made a mess of this factory, depending on which side of the political arena one supports but it is a truth that this factory is a classic case of how govt. undertakings function when they have politicians and buerocrats in the driving seat.

      Thanks for clearing the air that the factory was in profit during the BJP’s last tenure. I think the present BJP government should bring a white paper on the overall functioning and closure of this factory.

      BTW, in the press conference on 26th December, this is what has been reported in the Indian Express:

      “When he was asked as to why the BJP was going back on its promise listed in the election manifesto, which was adopted as policy document of the government, Bragta almost lost temper. Besides many other things, he said: “We had meant the factory would be started if it looked profitable.” As it was pointed out that there were no ifs and buts in the manifesto, Bragta said: “Manifesto mein to bahut kuch likha hota hai (a lot of things are said in manifestoes).” When asked whether he was saying it on the record, he checked himself and said after a pause: “Kaha suna maaf (forgive me if I said something that hurt anyone)”.

      http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Himachal-Confidential/560145/

      Now this is something which the BJP should clear. When the manifesto happens to be a policy document of the government, is it prudent to backtrack now without a viable alternative to the growers?

      Wishing you too a great New Year ahead.

      Reply
  5. Amar Singh   September 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    The result of closure of the Gumma factory is now before us. Private parties who make packing material have started showing their true colour and created a shortage in the market with the result that hapless farmers are running from pillar to post. Our earlier leaders were far sighted who had established this factory for the cause of apple growers, but what to speak of the present lot!

    With so much mess created by the administration,as seen this year, I doubt if the ruling party legislatures of upper Shimla will be returned next time.

    Reply
  6. Amar Singh   September 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    The result of closure of the Gumma factory is now before us. Private parties who make packing material have started showing their true colour and created a shortage in the market with the result that hapless farmers are running from pillar to post. Our earlier leaders were far sighted who had established this factory for the cause of apple growers, but what to speak of the present lot!

    With so much mess created by the administration,as seen this year, I doubt if the ruling party legislatures of upper Shimla will be returned next time.

    Reply

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