BJP’s promise of doubling farmers’ income was a bluff: Kotkhai MLA
Addressing a press conference in Shimla, MLA Rohit Thakur said instead of an increase in farmers’ income, input and packaging material costs have gone up
Senior Congress leader and Jubbal-Kotkhai MLA Rohit Thakur on Tuesday accused the state government of ignoring horticulture sector and called its promise of doubling the farmers’ income a bluff.
Addressing a press conference here, Thakur said instead of an increase in farmers’ income, input and packaging material costs have gone up.
He said there has been 40% to 50% rise in the packing material prices in the last two years, which is unprecedented. “This year, there has been an increase of ₹10 to ₹15 per carton, while rates of trays have gone up by ₹ 200 per bundle,” he added.
The Congress MLA said that private companies have attributed the increase in GST to the hike in the prices of packaging material. “The GST on packaging material has been increased to 18% from the previous 12%. The state government’s announcement of 6% subsidy on GST on packaging material has come very late,” he alleged.
Thakur said the government should have made the decision of GST exemption on packaging material in June and raised the matter firmly with the Centre. He said more than 25 lakh apple boxes have already reached the market while the apple season in the high-altitude area would also begin after August 15.
“The apple growers are very disappointed as there are too many formalities to avail the subsidy. The state government had earlier implemented DBT scheme by scrapping subsidies on fungicides and pesticides and that too failed due to such a lengthy process,” he added.
Thakur said that the central government has increased the prices of fertilisers used in apple cultivation from 24% to 42% within a year, while the price of potash has also doubled.
He said the former Congress government had started 50% subsidy on insecticides and fungicides through the horticulture department, which was stopped by the BJP government of the state in 2020. “The government has now announced to restore the old subsidy scheme, but the spraying season is about to end,” he added.
He also raised the issue of bad road conditions in the apple belt of Himachal and alleged that government has reduced the budget for the maintenance of roads.
He said that due to the untiring efforts of the former Congress government, Himachal Pradesh got ₹ 1,134 crore horticulture project funded by the World Bank, but it too was messed up due to the flawed polices of the state government.
Thakur said that out of total sanctioned 2,432 posts in the horticulture department, almost 40% were lying vacant, which “reflects the government’s apathy towards the horticulture sector”.
‘HP pushed into a debt trap’
Himachal Congress vice-president and Naina Devi MLA Ramlal Thakur on Tuesday accused chief minister Jai Ram Thakur of pushing the state into a debt trap.
Addressing a press conference here, the former minister alleged that the BJP government has broken all previous records of raising loans and said that all its claims of a ‘double engine’ government have fallen flat.
He said that the CM was now trying to mislead the people by putting the blame on the Congress.
He alleged that the funds being raised by way of loans were being spent on BJP rallies and organisational works.
He also alleged the misuse of the funds and Jal Jeevan Mission. Thakur said that pipes worth crores were laid under the project, but no water flows in them.