Mis-managing horticulture in Himachal

Here is something which should be an eye opener about handling of apple season this year. Out of the total procurement done by HPMC this year, 45% procurement could not be transported due to bad roads and absence of trucks resulting in rotting at collection centres.

Mohan Chauhan, MD, HPMC said, “HPMC procured about 62,800 MTs of apple under Market Intervention Scheme through 151 collection centres in the state as on 26th October, 2010 and processed about 9100 MTs at Fruit Processing Plant Parwanu and Jarol (Sundernagar) and sold about 26,000 MTs in open market at Parwanu (Solan) and Pandranu (Jubbal) respectively. The balance spoiled quantity which could not be lifted/transported due to compelling reasons will be utilised for rightful purpose commercially as manure.”


45% of the procurement simply rotted!! That’s it. No questions asked. No heads rolled. No one blinked.

Can one imagine that MD of Adani or Reliance would dare say that 45% of their procurement simply rotted because of the ‘compelling reasons’? They would have got a kick and their entire career would have got screwed for good. Rest assured, no such thing will ever happen in this state.

Let me elaborate more on his statement above. While 9100 MTs apple will be processed at HPMC plants, 26,000 MTs was sold in the open market. Can anyone tell why apple was sold in the open market in the first place? The idea of support price was mooted for the culled fruit, which was unfit to be sold in the open market.  This was to be used for processing in HPMC plants for making juice, jams and other products. By dumping this fruit in open market, HPMC contributed in crashing the market prices thereby spoiling the economy of the growers.

Simply note the difference in figures, 9100 MT and 26,000 MT..!!

Why HPMC did not use the maximum fruit in it’s processing plants for which it was meant? HPMC products have a pan India demand and HPMC also has a pan India network. Why they are not using this network to market it’s products?

It takes roughly 1 kg of apple to prepare half kg of jam. Private companies sell 1 kg of jam for Rs. 160/. Do I have to do the maths to calculate the  profit margins, when they are buying apples for 5.25 per kg?

The problem over the years has been that the government has not bothered to take stock of these plants. It was during the the tenure of Dr. Parmar that these plants were set up, who had a vision to make this state truly a fruit state of India. Sadly his vision died with his death and what we are seeing today is a result of the complete mis-management accumulated over the years by both Congress and BJP. Once they screw up the govt run plants, like the Gumma carton factory, they conveniently bring consensus to close the plant.

How convenient?

Does these processing plants ever run to their full capacity? HPMC never bothered to come out with such figures.

Horticulture department also runs HIMCU which is responsible for canned fruit products. They have a plant at Naubhar in Shimla, next to the Horticulture directorate. Just visit the place and you will not find a single cann in the entire plant. The equipment is totally ancient. There is no machine to peel the fruits and the entire peeling is done by hand!!!

This is the state of the govt. run processing plants.

On one hand private companies are expanding their operations every year, Himachal govt run plants are becoming white elephants despite readily available raw material and huge demand of products in the market. Doesn’t this fall under the purview of anyone? Or the comfort of lal battis makes one to ignore the basic duty for which one gets elected?

Some murky understanding between the higher ups in the government and the private companies can not be ruled out. While the govt tends to ignore the production at HPMC plants so that the private companies can do brisk business. Why is that on one hand the HPMC is not able to streamline production in just two units where as private players are expanding production every year?

Let me turn to the last line of the MD, HPMC quote about preparing manure out of those rotten apples.

bragtaji1After all the mis-management the govt finally came up with a golden idea to prepare manure from the rotten apples. No one knows what is the scientific basis of this manure. Will the Horticulture University certify each and every bag which will be distributed to the growers, as this idea is said to be originated from there.

But firstly, the big question, who will answer the tax payers of the state that the apples bought at Rs. 5.25 per kg is being used to prepare gobar. It is not Bragta or Dhumal who are spending the money from their own pocket but the money is being spent from the tax payers kitty.

Let Narender Bragta who is (ir) responsible for horticulture in the state, tour lower Himachal districts of Hamirpur and Kangra and tell the people that his government is preparing gobar out of the apple procured @ Rs. 5.25 per kg from their hard earned money.

Finally, let me share a joke (true incident) doing rounds at the HIMCU plant. A burra sahib from the Horticulture department lately  visited the plant for inspection and was given a bottle of jam as a gift. Next day the sahib called up and thanked for the excellent bottle of honey given to him!

Well, this is the true state of horticulture.

Only in Himachal..!!

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13 Responses to "Mis-managing horticulture in Himachal"

  1. Puneet Pundir   October 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with Nityin that someone needs to be held accountable as these figures reflect that if proper management was there the govt. could have earned major profits. The media needs to take accountability and bring the real issues upfront. Strict measures should be in place to curb the menace of corruption prevalent in all the govt. offices and institutions. Himachal has the potential to be a self dependent state if the ministers do there duties sincerely.
    I will also like to take an opportunity to appreciate Nityin for the excellent work he is doing…… Keep up the good work going bro!….

    • NITYIN   November 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you Puneet for the comments. Readers like you are a great morale booster

  2. Surender Kumar Dhaleta   November 1, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Well, Mr Bragta should have some answers to this. If he doesn’t it would be a shame. He is the most active on the social networking sites, trying to woo the youth. If he doesn’t answer, I would think then the whole business about social networking is a sham and is being used not to interact but for self-promotion.

    Well, our politicians have learnt that there is something called as social networking, but why to use it and how to use it, it will take them ages to learn. They haven’t got their govt websites right as yet.

    • NITYIN   November 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      The problem is if you write about leaders, you are immediately branded as one from the opposition camp. But, the matter of citizen’s problem has to be addressed by the minister and not by opposition leaders!! This is the basics of democracy and the netas need to understand this.Well, nothing bad in using social media by the leaders. At least his fan page is not static but he or someone on his behalf is replying and this is a good sign. Only thing, the average farmer does not uses Facebook. He should tour more often in the horticulture belt and meet the farmers for himself, I mean areas other than his constituency. The minister needs to face the farmers!

  3. Amit Singh Chauhan   November 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Mr. Nityin,

    DOnt make it an issue of lower and upper.
    Need to correct your facts,Apple industry is of 1500 crore and is the biggest for state revenues so far.

    Instead of blaming state govt. for roads , you should blame it on central govt. bcoz the roads to one of the biggest apple producing block ie. jubbal-kotkhai -Rohru is under poor condition after the visa suspension of Chinese company workers working over there.


    • NITYIN   November 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      Mr. Amit Would suggest you to please read the article again and not comment simply seeing the picture of the leader.

  4. Tikender   November 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    excellent one yaar. manure from ethanol ! need to revise my chemistry once again. actually this mismanagement was also compounded by lies and hoodwinking the people.

    • NITYIN   November 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      टिक्की भाई

      यह कहीं किसानों को मरवा न दे… नीम हकीम खतराये जान वाली बात न हो…

      आप लोग भला चुप क्यों हैं?

      दीपावली की आग्रिम शुभकामनाएं.

  5. NITYIN   November 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Amar Ujala carried a front page story yesterday (November 11, 2010) on this issue and basically retrieves what I have mentioned above.

  6. Rakesh   December 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Sab Gur gobar kar diya. This is all that I can say for Bragta Ji for his contribution to apple region. BJP did not find a good person to rely on in the belt.
    Nice post and active responses to comments.

  7. Vivid_sachin   January 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

    good one….nityin
    1500 crores industry is striving for its existence….wow hats off to government….

    • NITYIN   January 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Sachin for being here..

  8. Amar   August 13, 2011 at 2:04 am

    One year has passed, next apple season set in, but not  even one bag of the  organic manure  seems to have been prepared from the rotten apples. Inquiries made from the horticulture department in this regard did not bring any fruitful result. Is anyone accountable??


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