Irked over the failure of the Congress government in initiating departmental action against the officials concerned of the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC), leaders of the BJP staged a dharna outside the HPMC's cold store to register their protest at Parwanoo on Wednesday.
The leaders also demanded awarding of compensation to the affected growers and traders and ordering of a high-level probe into developing of technical snag in cold store that caused huge financial losses to growers and traders.
The trouble had brewed up last week when the officials concerned had noticed the rise in temperature beyond permissible limit of 3 to 4 degrees.
The officials observed the hovering of temperature between 6 from 8 degrees that had led to rotting of stored apple and pears and spoiling of other items in the store.
Despite noticing the rise in temperature, the officials concerned had neither informed the traders nor the senior officials timely that led to untimely ripening of around 75,000 boxes of apples valued over `15 crore.
Though, the Parwanoo's HPMC officials had provided the information to senior officials at Shimla but alleged lackadaisical approach of certain officials had triggered the fresh controversy for the Virbhadra Singh government. Even, the affected traders had also lodged a complaint with police demanding lawful action against the erring officials. Alter, HPMC' managing director J.C Sharma had denied the charges of the traders and claimed that shortly after receipt of information technical experts were send to repair the fault and probe ha established that a small quantity of apple had ripen.
Criticising the Virbhadra Singh government former BJP minister Narender Bargta who along with Members of Shimla parliamentary constituency Virender Kashyap, State secretary of Mahila Morcha Nisha Sharma and Kisna Morcha leaders sat on Dhrana at Parwanoo said that government had failed to safeguard the interests of farming community. Bargta and Kashyap said that developing of snag and its delayed repair showed that congress government had lost control over the administration.
They said that if the government did not award the compensation to the affected growers and traders, BJP would launch a massive agitation. The leaders said that government instead of shielding the inefficient officials should fix the responsibility to ensure prevention of re-occrnace of such incidents in future.