In a high level meeting for making proper arrangements in the apple season, Vidya Stokes, Irrigation & Public Health and Horticulture Minister announced to set up 24 hours ‘Apple Harvesting Monitoring Cell’ at Directorate of Horticulture for quick redressal of problems of horticulturists during the current apple season which would be made functional from 15th July, 2013. The report of complaints and problems registered in the Cell would be submitted directly to Horticulture Minister and Additional Chief Secretary, Horticulture so that they could be disposed off speedily.

Horticulture Minister said that Horticulture Department has estimated production of about 3.5 crore apple boxes during this year, which was 7.65 lakh metric tonne approximately out of this, 6.89 lakh metric tonne apple are expected to be marketed out of the State. She said that 76591 trucks were likely to be engaged for transportation of apple for which proper arrangements had been made by the State Government. He said that 260 apple procurement centres would be set up in the apple growing areas, out of which 175 centres would start functioning from 22nd July.

Stokes said that Horticulture sector was a vital sector in the economy of the State which generate more than Rs. 3200 crore annual income. She said that State Government was serious towards the problems of the horticulturists and special arrangements had been made for their convenience so that they could not face any difficulty for marketing their produce. She said that adequate arrangements had been made for the availability of sufficient quantity of quality cartons at reasonable rates to the growers and district administration had been asked to check its profiteering and hoarding. Police Department had been asked to make foolproof arrangements for the registration of purchasers and commission agents, she added. She said that help of Global Positioning System (GIS) would be taken first time in the State to check thefts and monitoring of trucks.

Horticulture Minister asked the Public Works Department to undertake maintenance of the roads and make all arrangements during the season. She said that all the National and State Highways roads were in better position as compared to previous years and it should be ensured in future also so that people do not face any difficulty. She said that apple produce of Rohru area could be transported via Sungari and Tikkar to decongest traffic rush on Hatkoti road and similarly traffic pressure on Theog road could be reduced by utilizing Chhaila-Oachhaghat road. She directed the PWD officials to make sufficient arrangement of men and machinery at identified places to avoid any inconvenience because of roads blockade. She also directed to deploy sufficient police personnel to regulate traffic.

Additional Chief Secretary, Horticulture Vineet Chaudhary detailed out the arrangements made during apple season.

Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police of apple growing districts and senior officers of Horticulture, HIMFED, APMC, HPMC, PWD were also present in the meeting.