Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce headed by Shanta Kumar, Chairman of the Committee held meeting with senior officers of the State Government here today. After the meeting Shanta Kumar said that the Committee had fruitful discussions and assured that points raised by the State Government will be taken seriously by the Committee and will give recommendations to the Government of India accordingly.

Shanta Kumar emphasized the role of private sector and added that small processing units can be set up in the apple growing areas by the private entrepreneurs for which State Government can consider of giving incentives to them. He said that there is a vast scope for floriculture in Himachal Pradesh and added that Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab Governments can explore possibility of setting up of common market in Delhi or somewhere nearby area so as to benefit the flowers growers. Shanta Kumar also stressed for taking the research being undertaken by the Agriculture and Horticulture Universities of the State to the fields so that farmers are benefited from this.

He said that the suggestions given by other members of the Committee for agriculture, horticulture and tea promotion in the State should also be given due consideration.

Earlier, presenting the case of Himachal Pradesh Government, Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu said that Himachal Pradesh has vast hydro power, industrial and tourism potential and added that the State Government was giving special emphasis on promotion of exporting units in the State. She added that at present State had 92 exporting units in the State and endeavour of the Government was to increase such units further so as to earn income. She said that Kangra tea is popular and its quality was better than Darjeeling and added that State Government had taken up the matter with the Government of India for promoting Kangra tea by giving incentives to the tea growers of the State. She said that 40 percent of apple being produced in the country was in Himachal Pradesh but due to lack of infrastructure facilities the apple growers was not getting remunerative prices. She urged the Committee to impress upon the Central Government to help the State in this respect. She also detailed the progress made by the State in production of vegetables and floriculture in such areas.

Chief Secretary apprised the Committee that State lacked in railway communication facilities and Government of India can consider subsidizing freight to nearest railway station so as to benefit the farmers and fruit growers of the State.

Additional Chief Secretary Industries Harinder Hira gave detailed presentation on industrial development in the State and schemes being implemented to benefit the people. She apprised the Committee that Government of India had earlier given industrial package to the State which had been partially withdrawn and requested the Committee to take up the mater with the Government of India for its restoration.

Ram Subhag Singh, Secretary, Agriculture giving the detailed presentation on agriculture and horticulture urged the Committee that it should take up the matter with Government of India for revival of Kangra tea. He said that at present 1000 hectare of area was covered under tea plantation and eight lakh kilogram tea was being produced at present in the State. He said that Palampur Tea was of very high quality. He said that State Government had taken up the matter with the Government of India to give package to the State for Kangra tea revival which would benefit the tea growers immensely. Ram Subhag Singh said that Agriculture University, Palampur had also sent Organic Tea Project for sanction. He also urged that State Government to help for strengthening the storage facilities which will also ensure remunerative prices to the growers. He said that Committee should also recommend giving special product status for apple of Himachal Pradesh which will help in finding good market for the apple. Other senior officers of the State Government also presented their point of views on various issues before the Committee.

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