Himachal govt asks for public opinion on reimposing lockdown; orchardists, industrialists not keen
So far, 86% people have voted in favour of complete lockdown while 14% people are against the decisionUpdated: Jul 27, 2020 18:28 IST
With a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government has started an online poll to ask people whether lockdown should be reimposed.
An online poll has been started on himachal.mygov.in in which government asked the people to vote for complete lockdown and weekend lockdown. People can vote on this portal till August 1, after which the state government will take further decision about the lockdown.
So far, 86% people have voted in favour of complete lockdown while 14% people are against the decision. As many as 68% people have voted in favour of weekend lockdown while 32% people have voted against it.
INDUSTRIALISTS, ORCHARDS NOT KEEN
Orchardists and industrialists are not keen about the idea of a lockdown. They are concerned as their income depends on their sale of fruits and the apple season has just begun in the state. The apple season will continue through August, September, and October.
Himachal fruit vegetables and flower growing association president Harish Chauhan said, “If lockdown is reimposed the apple economy will bear the brunt of it. The government should remember that apple contributes Rs 4,500 crore to the state economy and orchardists have no other source of income. Orchardists have already suffered huge losses due to heavy rain, hailstorms and the last lockdown.”
He said ensuring the health and safety of people was also important and as such if the government decides to reimpose lockdown, fruit markets and apple transportation should be allowed. “The state government should make proper arrangements for apple growers or ask companies to come and purchase the produce directly from the orchardists at their doorstep,” he added.
Puneet Rajta, an orchardist from Kotkhai, said, “Did the government seek public opinion when it allowed tourists to enter Himachal or when the CM promoted Himachal as a quarantine destination? What plans does the government have for apple growers and what will growers do now that the apple season has begun?”
Himachal Pradesh Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has also requested the state government to follow a consultative approach and avoid halting industrial activities before announcing any lockdown.
Himachal CII chairperson Col Shailesh Pathak said industries in the state had suffered losses as industrial activities were permitted very late and that too with a lot of restrictions as compared to neighbouring states. “All stakeholders, including the industry, demonstrated a great sense of responsibility as well as camaraderie to combat Covid-19 in the state.”
Industries are once again poised to suffer huge production-linked losses, which will have a ripple effect. Industrial activity has not been stopped in any part of the country where short duration lockdowns have been announced, he added.