Shimla: With the apple growers in the state facing difficulties in getting remunerative prices for the apple crop, Kisan Sangarsh Samiti has demanded the implementation of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS).

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, General Secretary Sanjay Chauhan expressed serious concern over the exploitation of farmers due to a steep fall in apple prices and an open violation of the APMC Act in the mandis (market yards).

He said that the MIS should be implemented on a similar pattern of Kashmir, wherein A grade Rs 60, B grade Rs 44 and Rs 24 for C grade apples per kg be bought through HPMC, HIMFED and other government agencies.

He sought intervention of the state government to stop the violation of the APMC Act, due to the poor system of APMC committees.

“The apple farmers are facing difficult times.

Today, the average price of apples is fetching Rs 300-1400 per box, which is the lowest in the last 15 years. Whereas the cost of production has increased manifold during this time,” he said, adding that due to the steep fall in the prices of apples and the continuous increase in the prices of items used for producing the apple crop, a farmer is not being able to recover the cost of production.

“Due to the faulty policies of the government, today the cost of agriculture and horticulture is increasing continuously. The subsidy and assistance that the government used to provide on fertilizers, seeds, insecticides, fungicides and other cost items has been stopped. The farmers are forced to buy items from the market at exorbitant prices,” said Chauhan.

He demanded that open bidding should be done in the mandis by strictly implementing the provisions of the APMC Act, only those who have licenses and permits in the mandis should be allowed to do business and it should be ensured that the payment is made on the same day to farmers for the sale of their produce by the buyer or the agent.

“The government should take strict legal action against those who disobey the law and stop the exploitation of farmers in the mandis. The economy of Rs 5000 crores is in deep trouble and if the government does not implement these demands, then they will be forced to mobilize the farmers and agitate,” he cautioned.

The farmers are being looted in the mandis, they are forced to illegally pay Rs 40 to 60 per box in the name of labour, bank / DD charge, discount, he charged adding, while Rs 8 per box of labour has been fixed, farmers are being charged up to Rs 15 per box and labourers are being given even less.

In many mandis illegally Rs 20 to 30 per box and up to 2 percent is being deducted as bank / DD charge, he claimed.