Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) General Secretary Rajneesh Kimta on Monday hit out at the state government over the bad conditions of link roads and demanded the state government to immediately restore the roads in rural areas to ensure smooth transportation of apples.

While addressing a press conference at Shimla, Kimta said that the apple season is in full swing but the state government seems least bothered.

“PWD is claiming that it has no funds to continue the road restoration work and have alleged that the state government has not provided them with any funds to do so,” Kimta said.

He said that due to heavy rainfall, there are a lot of places especially in rural areas which are experiencing frequent landslides. Due to this, apple growers are not able to transport their produce to mandis on time as their trucks carrying apple boxes are stuck midways due to landslides and bad conditions of the roads.

“This is causing major losses to the orchardists who have already suffered a lot due to heavy rainfall as well as the pandemic” he added.

“The state government had promised to provide financial relief to the orchardists who were affected due to untimely snowfall and heavy hailstorm earlier this year but nothing has been done by the government.

He also condemned the central government’s decision to decrease the import duty from 55 percent to 20 percent and said that this step of the government is a direct attack on the livelihood of the farmers and horticulturists. He said that both the central and state government are anti-farmers.

He also expressed concern over the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and said that the state government is once again taking this pandemic lightly and the preparedness for the possible third wave is not up to the mark.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.