Not happy with govt’s offer: HP fruit growers’ August 5 stir on
Five days after the unions sat across the table with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and other government functionaries to discuss issues related to fruit growers, farm leaders claimed that the government was not ‘serious’ towards their problems
Announcing to go ahead with its plan to gherao the Himachal Pradesh secretariat on August 5, Sanyukt Kisan Manch, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, rubbished the Jai Ram government’s notification to restore the old subsidy scheme on fungicides and reduction of GST on fruit packaging material. It described the offer as an ‘eyewash’ to placate agitating fruit growers while the opposition Congress extended its support to their agitation.
Five days after the unions sat across the table with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and other government functionaries to discuss issues related to fruit growers, farm leaders claimed that the government was not ‘serious’ towards their problems.
Convener of manch Harish Chauhan, accompanied by heads of different unions, alleged that government was not paying heed to the 20-point demand charter it had submitted. “Whatever we have learnt so far is through media that the government has issued a notification to restore subsidy on pesticides and fungicides, but the development has come after 80% spraying has been done. Moreover, claiming subsidy is a cumbersome process for the farmers as there are a lot of formalities,” Chauhan added.
“We have only learnt from media that the government has reduced subsidy on cartons, but no notification has been issued yet,” he said, adding that if it happens, the price of cartons will be reduced merely by ₹5 to ₹6, whereas the increase was up to ₹25.
“Similarly, prices of trays have increased drastically,” he said, demanding the government to hold consultation with corrugated fibreboard carton manufacturers.
Apple growers are demanding MSP for their produce on the lines of Kashmir, where support price is fixed in accordance with the quality of apples -- ₹60 per kg for Grade A, ₹44 for Grade B and ₹24 for Grade C fruit.
The farmers’ leader also slammed the Congress government, saying that both the BJP and the Congress should include their issues in their election agenda. Chauhan also appealed to the farmers to join their protest call.
Former mayor and co-convener of Sanyukt Kisan Manch, Sanjay Chauhan, castigated the government and demanding to implement the APMC Act in letter and spirit to check the exploitation of farmers.
The union representatives also urged the government to increase the import duty on apples to 100%, strictly implement the APMC Act, 2005, and clear the pending dues of farmers.
Chauhan said a request was also made to waive the loans of farmers and constitute a committee of horticulture department, university experts and fruit growers to fix the price of apples in the CA stores of private companies and to make provision of reservation of 25% space for farmers’ crops in CA stores to keep apples.