As the monsoon session of the state assembly was adjourned sine die much before its scheduled conclusion, it also dashed the government's plan to bring amendment in the law pertaining to standardisation of apple packaging.
Learning from its bitter experience in the past, the government seems to be treading a cautious path on this issue and is planning to have proper deliberations on the matter instead of bringing another ordinance in haste.
The government may bring amendment in the relevant act in Vidhan Sabha for standardisation of apple packaging in the winter session or the budget session but well before the next apple harvesting season.
Through the amendment, the government plans to make a standardisation of apple packaging of 22.5 kg for larger packs and 11 kg for smaller ones.
In fact, the government had introduced a bill in the monsoon session of the assembly to approve the ordinance passed in this regard in June, but could not discuss and pass it due to the truncated session. The ordinance would not be able to survive beyond mid-September. As per rules, an ordinance should be passed in within 42 days of its introduction in the assembly.
Meanwhile, Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association president Harish Chauhan said that the government had brought the ordinance in haste without taking feedback from the public. “In this season, growers were fleeced by traders only due to this confused ordinance,” he said while wondering as to what would growers do after September because apple harvesting ends in October.
Chief parliamentary secretary (agriculture) Rohit Thakur said that this time growers were not prepared to accept the new norm of packaging, but still it was an appreciable attempt.
Thakur said that as technically, the ordinance will not survive after September, it is time for the government to think from a new angle and start preparations for bringing universal cartons to standardise the packaging.
“We have to bring standardisation in apple packaging but it should be done universally. If one grower adheres to the norms and another flouts them, it is injustice to those abiding by the rules,” said Thakur.
However, the government has not officially stated anything about the status of the ordinance and its order to adhere to the norms.
Though the government had claimed 100% success rate in achieving apple standardisation, but the reality is otherwise. Markets are still flooded with overweight apple packs and traders also have been discouraging the standardised packs.
There is a difference in the rates ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 500 between standardised and non-standardised packs.
The government had proposed Rs 1000 penalty and three-month imprisonment for the violators even as it had made no preparations to implement the ordinance.