Shimla (Dec 12): Himachal Pradesh leadership has repeatedly been patting their backs over bumper apple production (4.46 crore boxes) in the state this season, but the fruit seems to have taken a heavy toll with 112 people involved in apple trade losing their lives and 315 others getting critically injured in Shimla district alone. This revealing fact came to light in a written statement made by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to a query raised by Congress legislator from Kasumpti Sohan Lal in the just-concluded winter Assembly session.
The statement said that in Shimla district 175 accidents were reported during the apple season (from July 1 to November 20), claiming 112 lives and 315 others getting seriously injured. The toll includes 23 lives lost in 30-truck accident engaged in apple transportation. The accidents also caused loss to apple crop, damaging 9,452 apple boxes costing Rs 53 lakh. The worst effected areas were Rampur, Rohru, Chopal, Jubbal, Kotkhai and Theog. The statement said that main causes of accidents were negligent driving, mechanical failure and bad roads owing to rainy season.