In a meeting held to review the arrangements for the transportation of apples from interior parts of the Shimla districts to the markets, Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra said that due to increase in the prices of petrol and diesel apple growers will have to pay almost 15 per cent higher freight rates for the transportation of their produce to the markets.

Malhotra said keeping in view the inflation rate and an increase in the diesel and petrol prices during the preceding months, it was proposed to hike freight rates of heavy vehicles up to 15 per cent corresponding to the rates of the last year.

The apple growers raised the issue of digging of roads at several places for the laying of telecom cables. Malhotra directed the Public Works Department (PWD) and telecom authorities to immediately stop this work for a month till the conclusion of the apple season. He also asked PWD officers to ensure repair and maintenance of the roads during the season.