Shimla: Himachal Pradesh horticulture minister Narender Bragta stated that 19,000 trucks carrying 90 lakh apple cartons from the state have already reached various fruits markets of north during this apple season. Moreover, Shimla district alone registered 60 lakh apple boxes whereas state-owned agencies have also purchased 3,600 metric tonne apples under MIS scheme. Bragta disclosed this while presiding over a meeting with top government officials with regard to apple season arrangements.
Responding to a scathing attack being made on the state government by Congress and CPI(M) leaders alleging government’s failure to cope up with the bumper crop amidst landslide effected roads and poor arrangements for transportation, he claimed that affective steps have been taken for managing the fruit yield with special emphasis being given on timely repair of roads damaged due to heavy rains.
Accepting that dozens of link roads have been damaged due to heavy rains in the district, he said that many roads have been restored while work to reopen others was going on a war footing, He said Nerwa road in Chopal area was still blocked is likely to be cleared in the next two days.
The minister further said that extra police personnel have been deployed to clear frequent traffic jams on selected points. Road clearing machinery has also been pressed into action in the apple growing areas of state for prompt clearing of roads in landslide prone areas.
In order to ensure availability of trucks for apple transport during the season, directions had been issued to concerned authorities and they were taking stock of the situation on a day to day basis, he added. Around one thousand apple boxes were coming out from the apple belts of state daily and trucks were being made available to the growers as per their demand and proper arrangements had been made for additional trucks for which Darlaghat, Barmana and many Truck Unions of Punjab had been contacted. Warning the transporters for charging exuberant freight from the growers, Minister cautioned that stern action would be taken against the violators.
Local BJP MLAs of apple growing areas of this district, namely Suresh Bhardwaj, Rakesh Verma and Khushi Ram Balnatah also participated in the meeting and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the government for the apple season.
Edited by: Johar Singh