The Himachal Seb Utpadak Sangh has slammed government for outsourcing Jarol Tikker CA Store and the apple grading line to Gem Tree for a period of five years. Rakesh Singha, President Seb Utpadak Sangh, in his press communiqué accused state Govt for forming policies benefiting corporate houses.

Rakesh Singha said

“It is painful to note through the efforts of the Agriculture Produce Export and Development Authority (APEDA) a grant of 29.60 crore of Rupees was provided to the HPMC to convert the Jarol Tikker and Gumma cold stores to controlled atmosphere cold stores, to modernize the grading machines of Jarol Tikker, Oddi, Gumma, Patlikuhal in Kullu and construction of grading house at Rekong Peo two vegetable packing houses at Ghumarwin and Nadaun and a Tetra Pack Line at Parwanoo but unfortunately they are being gifted to private operators to garner their profits”

Singha said the terms and conditions of outsourcing the Jarol Tikker CA Store and grading house to the Gem Tree Company goes against the interests of apple growers. He said that Jarol Tikker CA Store has 8 chambers and 6 of them have been handed over to Gem Trees and thus growers will be permitted to use only two chambers for storing their fruit. He added that apple growers will not be permitted to use the grading machine and for it they will have travel 30 kms to Oddi which will exorbitantly increase the cost of production, he added.

The Himachal Seb Utpadak Sangh president alleged that the focus of development of the government was no more the common man but it’s the Adanis, Dev Bhumis, Gem Tree Agri Reliance etc.

The Seb Utpadak Sangh also condemned government for not implementing universal carton of 20 kg packing. Singh said that universal carton was against the interest of the commission agents and in favour of the farmers, but under the pressure of the commission agents the government withdrew from legislating a law which would prevent the farmer from packing apple beyond 20 kg’s, he claimed.

The Seb Utpadak Sangh has decided to launch a struggle against these anti farmers’ policy. The struggle will continue until this policy is reversed. The Seb Utpadak Sangh has also asked the management of Gem Tree to allow the farmers to use the packing house for grading their apple. The failure to do so, the Sangh will not allow gem Tree to gain profit at the cost of the poor farmers. The Sangh will hold a protest rally at Narkanda on 8th August, 2013.