Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi announced in the Assembly on Saturday that apples will be sold in universal cartons from next year.
He was replying to a discussion on the issue of Universal Carton, raised iby Congress MLA Kuldeep Singh Rathore in the house.
The Minister announced that apples will be sold in universal cartons in Himachal Pradesh from next year. This rule will be fully implemented.
Appreciating the discussion on the issue of Universal carton and selling of apples on the basis of weight, Negi said that state government have to defer the decision.
Telescopic cartons will be completely banned and it will be phased out of apple packing. He said that the state government has decided to sell apples on kilo basis this year. The gardeners have benefited from this.
The Minister said that number of Apple Growers and traders have surplus stocks of telescopic cartons and therefore the state goverment decided to allow the sale of apples in telescopic carton and crates with weight.
He said that apples would be sold according to weight in other states also and the issue has been raised with other state governments of the country. If other states do not implement it, then Himachal government would move the High Court and fight.
This time, people have got higher rates, hesaid that even outside Himachal, correspondence is being made with other states to sell apples by weight.
The Minister said that the farmers have benefited from selling apples by weight. Gardeners have received prices up to Rs 4000 per box.
Jagat Negi refuted the allegations of Theog legislator Kuleep Rathore who had said that the decision to sell apples by weight could not be strictly implemented.
He said that apples are sold by weight in all the markets. A fine of Rs 22 lakh has been imposed on the brokers who ignored these rules.
The Minister said that along with APMC, Revenue Department officials were also put on duty to implement this decision so that the rule could be strictly implemented.
He said that initially there was a problem because the brokers were opposing it, but now the gardeners are also happy with the apples being sold by weight.
Negi said that he pointed out the difference in the carton and added that telescopic cartons are in two pieces. About 30 to 35 kg of apples can be filled in it. The commission agents want to fill as many apples as possible. Therefore the government had imposed a condition of 24 kg per box. Universal carton will now be implemented from next season. It is single piece. Around 23 kg of apples will be filled in it.
Early raising this issue under Rule 61 in the assembly,Kuldeep Rathore demanded implementation of universal carton. This would end the confusion among gardeners.
He said that this time the government has taken a historic decision by deciding to sell apples on the basis of kilos.
“Besides, a condition of packing of 24 kg was also imposed, but this decision was not strictly implemented. He said that this matter is related to thousands of gardeners of the state. The government should make strict rules on this.” he said.
The Horticulture Minister said that just a few days ago, the G-20 conference was organized. More than Rs 4,000 crores have been spent on this.
Due to this event, apple producing states including Himachal, Jammu Kashmir and Uttarakhand suffered huge losses. He said that the import duty on apple, which was earlier 75 percent, was reduced to 50 percent by the Central Government.
After the G-20 conference, it is being heard that now US has been given special status. If 15 percent import duty is imposed then Washington’s apple will come to India. Apple producing states will be devastated.
The Congress MLA said that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come to Hamirpur during the elections, he had talked about increasing the import duty.
Now they made a U turn which led to increased loss for the apple states.