Senior Congress leader and Jubbal-Kotkhai MLA Rohit Thakur on Tuesday accused the state government of neglecting the horticulture sector and falsifying its promise of doubling farmers’ income.
Addressing a press conference here, Thakur said that instead of increase in farmers’ income, the cost of inputs and packaging materials has increased.
The price of packing material has gone up by 40% to 50% in the last two years, which is unprecedented, he said. “This year, there has been an increase ₹From 10 ₹15 per box, the rates for trays are higher ₹ 200 per bundle.
Congress MLAs have said that private companies are responsible for the increase in GST for the rise in prices of packaging materials. GST on packaging materials has been increased to 18% from earlier 12%. The state government’s announcement of 6 per cent subsidy in GST on packaging materials is late,” he alleged.
Thakur said the government should have taken a decision on GST exemption on packaging materials in June and taken up the matter firmly with the Centre. He said that more than 25 lakh boxes of apples have already reached the market and the apple season will start in the highlands after August 15.
“Apple growers are very frustrated as there are many formalities to get subsidy. The state government had earlier implemented the DBT scheme by scrapping subsidies on fungicides and insecticides and it failed because of such a lengthy process,” he said.
The central government has increased the price of fertilizers used in apple cultivation from 24% to 42% within a year, while the price of potash has also doubled, Thakur said.
The previous Congress government had started 50% subsidy on insecticides and fungicides through the horticulture department, which was stopped by the BJP government in the state in 2020. “The government has now announced to restore the old subsidy scheme, but the spraying period will end,” he added.
He raised the issue of poor road conditions in the apple belt of Himachal and alleged that the government has reduced the budget for the maintenance of roads.
He said that Himachal Pradesh has reached due to the continuous efforts of the previous Congress government ₹ A horticulture project of Rs 1,134 crore was sanctioned by the World Bank, but that too has gone awry due to the faulty policy of the state government.
About 40% of the total sanctioned 2,432 posts in the horticulture department are lying vacant, which “reflects the government’s apathy towards the horticulture sector,” Thakur said.
HP is mired in debt
Himachal Congress vice-president and Naina Devi MLA Ramlal Thakur on Tuesday alleged that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is pushing the state into debt spiral.
Addressing a press conference here, the former minister said that the BJP government has broken all the previous records of raising loans and undermined all the rights of the ‘double engine’ government.
He said that now the CM is trying to divert the people by blaming the Congress.
He alleged that the money collected through the loan was being spent on BJP rallies and organizational work.
Jal Jeevan Mission and alleged misappropriation of funds. Thakur said pipes worth crores have been laid under the project, but no water flows through them.