Shimla – Kuldeep Singh Rathore, All India Congress Committee spokesperson and MLA from Theog, has leveled sharp criticism against the Central Government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing them of betraying the people of Himachal Pradesh on the issue of apples. Addressing the media in Shimla, Rathore alleged that the promises made by the Prime Minister during elections regarding the protection of apple crops and support for local growers have been disregarded.

According to Rathore, Prime Minister Modi had pledged to safeguard the interests of apple growers in Himachal Pradesh, promising measures such as increasing import duties to curb competition and ensuring the availability of Himachal apples in commercial products like cold drinks. However, Rathore asserted that the government’s actions have contradicted these assurances, leading to adverse consequences for the state’s apple industry.

Rathore highlighted the detrimental impact of the Central Government’s decision to reduce import duties, which has resulted in an influx of Iranian apples into the market. This influx, he claimed, has significantly disrupted the demand and pricing dynamics for Himachal apples, leaving local growers in distress.

The consequences of this policy reversal, Rathore argued, are particularly severe for apple growers who had stored their produce in anticipation of favourable prices. However, with prices plummeting to Rs 800 to Rs 1200 per box, down from Rs 2000 in the previous year, growers are facing substantial financial losses. Rathore also pointed out the additional burden imposed on growers due to the high costs of cold storage, which amounts to Rs 400 per box.