Blame it on lackadaisical approach of junior officials or dereliction of duty on part of senior officials, technical snag at the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) cold store led to rotting of around 75,000 boxes of different grades of apples at Parwanoo.
Sudden rise in temperature inside the cold store further led to spoiling of a large quantity of medicines, including life-saving drugs, butter and cream, owing to irresponsible approach of officials concerned in providing timely intimation to traders and managements of pharma companies.
Meanwhile, the affected traders had lodged a complaint against the officials of HPMC with the Parwanoo police alleging that negligence on part of the officer in-charge had caused huge financial losses to them.
The traders, who also urged the government to order a high-level probe, further demanded from the police to initiate stern action against the erring officials.
Reliable sources in HPMC revealed that the trouble brewed up around a week ago when the officials concerned noticed the rise in temperature beyond permissible limit of 3 to 4 degrees. The officials observed the hovering of temperature between 6 and 8 degrees.
Surprisingly, despite noticing the rise in temperature, the officials concerned neither informed the traders nor the senior officials timely that possible led to spoiling of around 75,000 boxes of apple valued over `15 crore.
Sources further revealed that the apple boxes were stored by the traders on rental basis with the hope of minting money during off season in the markets.
The case of rotting of apple and spoiling of medicines came to light after certain apple traders visited the store on Sunday afternoon and found emanating of stink from inside the store.
Soon, they asked the officials concerned to open the store for checking the same that established the rotting of a large quantity of apple inside the store.
The traders, including Chunni Lal Chauhan, Sanjeev Chauhan, Sanjay Kumar, Rakesh Justa and others, blaming the officials concerned alleged that it appeared that certain officials have hatched a conspiracy to cause financial loss to the traders, particularly after successful trading of apples at Parwanoo Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Complex during the current season.
Manager of the store PS Negi, admitting development of snag, said the information concerning the same was given to senior officials at Shimla a week ago. After this, a team of technical experts had also visited the store, but were unable to stabilise the needed temperature. He, however, claimed that preliminary check of store has revealed that a small quantity of apple has rotten, while butter, cream and medicines were in safe condition.
Parwanoo deputy SP Susheel Sharma said the police started the investigations after receipt of the traders' complaint, adding that lawful action would be initiated against the erring officials if the investigations established dereliction of duty on part of officials concerned.