State Government would welcome investments by private sector in development of nurseries to multiply imported apple root stock for distribution amongst the growers and increase their yield. Chief Minister said it in a meeting with a delegation of Dev Dhumi Cold Chain Limited led by Sanjay Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director which called on the Chief Minister. Chief Minister said that the State Government was keen to associate private sector in creating quality cold chain infrastructure to store the apple produce of the growers which had been contributing significantly towards the gross domestic product of the State and a large chunk of the population inhabiting upper areas were engaged for self employment and employment activities upon horticultural activities. He said that State had a bumper apple crop last year and the same was marketed to different terminals all over the country in a haste keeping in view the limited shelf life of the produce. He said that had there been adequate cold chain storage facilities the same could have been stored and marketed as per the demand at appropriate time. He said that Adani Group had created some storage at three different points in the apple growing area while Dev Bhumi Cold Chain had also constructed one store at Matiana in district Shimla. He said that the company had offered to construct one more store between Reckong Peo and Pooh area of district Kinnaur for which initial process had already been started.

Chief Minister said that per hectare yield of apple in the State ranged between 5 to 7 MTs compared to 50 to 60 MT in European and other apple growing countries in the world. He said that although the State Government was implementing Apple Re-plantation Scheme at a cost of Rs. 85 crore with a view to replace the old root stock with high yielding varieties of root stock. He said that during earlier term of BJP in the State the State Government had imported root stock from different country for multiplication in the university and departmental nurseries for onward transfer to the growers which had benefited many growers. He said the process of research and development was in progress and welcomed the offer of Dev Bhumi Cold Chain to develop apple nurseries of the imported root stock and make the same available at reasonable costs to the growers after multiplication thereby ensuring enhanced yield ranging between 50 to 60 MT per hectare. He said that the Company had proposed to enter into a tripartite agreement with the growers and financing bank State Bank of India to provide quality root stock to growers and recover the cost only on getting increased yield. He said that additionally the Bank would be funding the hail nets, micro irrigation projects and green houses as well which would help substantially in creating quality infrastructure for horticultural activities.

Chief Minister said that the proposal of Dev Bhumi would be examined by the State Government at appropriate level and take necessary decision in the best interest of the State and growers. He assured the Company of all possible help from the State Government in getting their project cleared in a time bound manner. Sanjay Aggarwal, thanked the Chief Minister for his support in inviting investment in horticulture sector. He said that the Company had decided to upgrade the quality of the apple produce and bring the same at par with the best varieties in the world. He said that an investment of Rs. 100 crore was likely to be made by the Company in creation of Cold Chain and nurseries where local growers would also be provided technical know how. He said that altitude specific varieties of root stock would be imported to bring maximum area of the State under horticultural activities.

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