HPMC empanelled 26 firms for the supply of packaging material

Shimla: the state government has directed to administration to ensure elaborate and comprehensive arrangements for transportation of apple produces so that apple growers do not face any inconvenience for taking their produce to the markets in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, in a meeting convened to review the preparedness regarding harvesting of Apple crop during the current season, said that to facilitate the fruit growers, HPMC has empanelled 26 firms for the supply of packaging material viz. cartons, separators, trays and other allied items of different categories.

About 1.20 crore cartons are ready with these firms for supply to the orchardists, CM claimed.

CM Jai Ram Thakur revealed that the Horticulture department has tied up for marketing arrangements for the growers at Aazadpur Mandi in New Delhi and Gannaur Mandi at Sonipat in Haryana. He said that controlled atmosphere stores have been identified in government and private sectors in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi having a total capacity of about 1.17 lakh metric tonnes. Besides this cold storage facility of 32000 MT is available to facilitate the horticulturists, he added.

He directed the Public Works Department to ensure proper maintenance of the roads and other linking roads in the apple growing areas to make it sure that flow of vehicular traffic was smooth. He said that law and order situation must be ensured during the apple season in the areas and asked that control room at various locations must be set up to ascertain the smooth movement of trucks, to and fro.

The Chief Minister also directed the horticulture department to convene meeting with the contractors to arrange labourers. He said that adequate arrangement must be made to facilitate them so that there was no scarcity of labourers.

He said that alternative arrangement of labourers must be made. He said that if required the State Government could even consider sending buses up to even Dehradun and other places to bring Nepali labourers to the State. He said that matter should also be taken with the District Administration of bordering districts of Nepal for bring labour to the State. He said that steps must be taken in organised to ensure that the horticulturists do not suffer due to want of labour.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the farmers of the state would get remunerative price of their produce as this year the import of apple from other countries would not be possible this year due to COVID-19 crisis. He said that only thing required was fool good arrangements for transportation of apple to the market.

He said that APMC will facilitate the movement of agricultural market functionaries and concerned District Magistrates would issue them transit passes. He said that APMC should ensure installations of CCTV cameras at all Mandis as well as individual yards.

Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that horticulture industry accounts for about Rs 5000 crores per annum. He said that about 5.83 lakh MT Apple production was expected during the current Apple season.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.