Survival rate of plants remained between 39 and 22 per cent

Shimla: Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out the high mortality rate in the fruit plants distributed to the horticulturist by the Horticulture department.

Audit noticed that though the coverage was over and above the target, the survival rate of plants remained between 39 and 22 per cent. It indicated that quality plants were not provided to the growers/ horticulturists.

This is revealed in the CAG report on social, general and economic sectors (Non-Public Sector Undertakings) Himachal Pradesh government for the year ended 31, March 2019.

“Total expenditure of Rs 15.25 crore was incurred and against the targets for area coverage and plant distribution during 2014-19, 14004-hectare coverage was targeted, however, total 33,290 hectares was covered. Around plants, 21857 failed to survive, while only 11433 survived. Against the target of 105 lakhs of plants distribution 102 lakhs of plants were distributed,” was observed from the available data.

In the year 2014-15 the mortality of the plats was 61 percent and survival 39 percent, while in the year 2018-19 it declined to 22 percent.

Bahra University

In 2015-16 survival was 37 percent, 2016-17 it stood at 38 percent, and in 2017-18 it was 32 percent.  

Further, the department did not maintain post-distribution data (like mortality in specific areas or plants) of success and failure of the distributed plants for taking remedial measures for next cycles, pointed CAG.

To cover the additional area under horticulture, improved varieties of fruit plants are arranged and distributed by the Department of Horticulture from private nurseries, production in the departmental nurseries and import from horticulturally advanced countries.

The additional area to be covered under horticulture is calculated by the Department based on overall plantation and distribution of different species of fruit plants and finalized taking into consideration the mortality of fruit plants up to the month of September every year.