Rattled by public complaints concerning evasion of marketing fee and unlawful trading of herbs by a large number of ayurveda units, engaged in manufacturing of different kinds of medicines and related products, the authorities of the state Agricultural Marketing Board on Monday asked the secretaries of the district Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) to initiate the recovery process against the erring units.
Earlier, the board authorities had asked the managements of the ayurveda units across the state to obtain the licences form APMCs to avoid any lawful action in June.
However, out of around 200 units, only 15 units had applied for obtaining licence before the authorities during the past three months, raising many eyebrows on the functioning of the secretaries of APMCs.
The board authorities had also directed the secretaries of APMCs to ensure the issuance of licences to the managements of all such erring units, manufacturing ayurveda products and medicines in violation of Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing (development and regulations) Act. The board had included 37 herbs on its list in 2010.
Sources in APMC revealed that since some kith and kin of BJP leaders, including a former BJP minister, were engaged in manufacturing of ayurveda products, the APMC authorities were adopting a dilly-dallying approach in initiating action against the offenders.
Sources revealed that out of around 200 units, a total of 125 units were engaged alone in Solan district.
Despite repeated directions of the board, the Solan APMCs authorities have neither initiated any action against the offenders nor slapped show-cause notice to the erring managements, including family members of a BJP minister, owning two ayurveda units in the district.
“Since some of officials in APMCs have managed their postings through BJP ministers during its regime, it appeared that these officials were openly violating the board's order to appease their political bosses and to save the offenders causing loss to the tune of crores to the state exchequer every year,” said an official seeking anonymity.
Sources revealed that currently, a large number of units were engaged in manufacturing of medicines by purchasing and importing raw material from the farming community in Solan, Paonta Sahib, Kala Amb, Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh, Parwanoo, Una, Kangra, Palampur and other parts of the state, but evading marketing fee to the government in violation of law.
Ayurveda units, especially multinational companies, were carrying out business to the tune of crores every year and even small units were also filing their business returns between `20 lakh to `30 crore, thereby causing loss to the tune of crores to the state exchequer.
APMC secretary Bhanu Sharma claimed that the notice had been issued to the erring units, but around a dozen units have applied for the licence till date, adding that action would be initiated shortly.
Board's managing director HS Baweja said, “Since 90% units have not obtained licences, directions have been issued to APMCs to carry out assessment of past three years and start the process to recover the market fee @ of 1% from the erring units.