Litchi growers are enthused and are hoping for a bumper crop this year. They have dismissed the rumour of the virus in the fruit.
Trees are full of litchi fruit these days in Pathankot and nearby areas while the growers are busy in making arrangements to dispatch this seasonal fruit to the different parts of the country and even to the international markets.
After Pathankot was declared a litchi zone, growers have been increasing their area of plantation while the department of horticulture is also doing its best efforts to use the opportunity with ample funds in their hands.
"In just three to four days, the plucking will start and for this we are leaving no stone unturned to restrict the wastage of the fruit as this fruit eaten just few days after it is plucked from the branches,"says expert grower Rajeev Mahajan.
"We had also heard the rumours of the virus in some part of the country but as I am in this business for the past several years I have not come across any such problem," he said. The fruit is safe. Use of pesticides could have been the reason of some problem, otherwise I am daily eating unripe litchis from my orchard and these free from any virus infection, he added.
Dr. Arvind Kalra, a medico who also owns orchards of litchi here also claimed that as per his knowledge the fruit was totally safe, free from infection and could be eaten without any hesitation.
Saleem, an orchard contractor said that he had received a lot of orders for the fruit and expect bumper sale this year too. The district horticulture officer could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.