Shimla, July 14
The state of Himachal Pradesh should implement Mandi Intervention Scheme (MIS) for Apple produce, on the lines of Kashmir. The price of A grade should be fixed at 60 ₹, B grade 44 ₹ and C grade 24 ₹ per kg and the dues of the gardeners should be paid immediately under the MIS pending for years, stated Sanyukt Kissan Manch. The forum demanded that the increase in GST imposed by the government on cartons and trays from 12% to 18% should be withdrawn and their prices should be reduced immediately.
If the government does not implement these demands immediately, then the Manch will organize a state-wide agitation on July 20 with the association of all farmers and gardeners, stated Sanjay Chauhan, Co- Convenor of the forum.
Due to agitations launched by the organizations of farmers and gardeners in the state in 1982, 1987 and 1990 for their demands, the support price and market mediation scheme (MIS) was started by the government in the state. But no government has been able to implement it completely till date, he rued.
Today, only C grade apples are procured by the government at a very low price of ₹9.50 per kg in the state, whereas in Kashmir in 2019, under this Mandi Arbitration Scheme (MIS), 60 ₹ for A grade of apples, ₹ 60 for B grade. 44 ₹ for C grade and 24 ₹ per kg for C grade were fixed. The forum has been demanding for a long time that the Mandi Intervention Scheme (MIS) should be implemented in the state on the lines of Kashmir. But the government is completely ignoring this demand.
Chauhan further added that despite the beginning of apple season in the state, the government has not made any preparations for the same. Moreover, the Apple season is going on fast in low lying areas and low altitude areas, neither government has been able to provide packaging material like cartons and trays nor Mandi Intervention Scheme (MIS) has been announced so far.
He stated that the rates of cartons which have been fixed recently have also been increased drastically and no arrangement has been made for the trays yet.
Due to the policies of the government, the crisis of agriculture and horticulture has increased in the state today, especially the crisis on the economy of apple, which has contributed more than Rs 5500 crore to the economy of the state, has deepened. The assistance and subsidies provided by the government in the areas of agriculture and horticulture were continuously being cut after 1991 and now they have been almost abolished, he informed.
Today, under the policy of open market and open trade, the farmer or gardener is being forced to get robbed by the market forces and corporate farming, he alleged. Due to this, there has been a huge increase in the prices of cost items used in agriculture and horticulture, mainly include fertilizers, cartons, trays, insecticides, fungicides and agricultural implements etc.
In the last one year itself, the prices of fertilizers have increased by 70% to 100%, in cartons by 15% to 20%, in trays by 35%, in insecticides and fungicides by 25% to 75%. The subsidy which the government used to provide to the gardeners in cost items, has been completely stopped 3 years ago. Due to this the cost price is increasing and the farmer is not getting the proper amount of his produce in the mandis.
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