Samyukta Kisan Manch, an umbrella organization of farmers’ unions, which announced on August 5 that it would go ahead with its plan to gherao the Himachal Pradesh ministry, rejected the Jai Ram government’s notification to restore the old subsidy scheme on fungicides and the GST reduction item on fruit packaging. It described it as an ‘eyewash’ to appease the agitating fruit growers if the opposition Congress extended its support to their agitation.
Five days after unions sat on the table with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and other government officials to discuss the problems of fruit growers, farmer leaders said the government was not serious about their issues.
Manch convener Harish Chauhan along with leaders of various organizations alleged that the government is not paying attention to the 20-point demand submitted by them. So far we have learned through the media that the government has issued a notification to restore subsidy on insecticides and fungicides, but the development has come after 80% spraying. Besides, claiming the subsidy is a cumbersome process for farmers as there are a lot of formalities,” Chauhan added.
“We have come to know from the media that the government has reduced the subsidy on cartons, but no notification has been issued yet,” he said, adding that if this happens, the price of cartons will only come down. ₹From 5 ₹6, but there is an increase ₹25.
“Similarly, the prices of trays have increased drastically,” he said, urging the government to consult with corrugated fiberboard box manufacturers.
Apple growers are demanding MSP for their produce on the model of Kashmir, where the support price is fixed according to the quality of the apple — ₹60 per kg for A grade. ₹44 Grade B and ₹24 for grade C fruit.
Farmer leaders lashed out at the Congress government saying that both BJP and Congress should include their issues in the election agenda. Chauhan appealed to the farmers to join hands in his protest call.
Former mayor and co-convenor of Samyukta Kisan Manch Sanjay Chauhan took the government to task and urged it to implement the APMC Act in letter and spirit to prevent exploitation of farmers.
The representatives of the association urged the government to raise the import duty on apples to 100 per cent, implement the APMC Act 2005 strictly and pay the dues of the farmers.
Chauhan said that a committee of horticulture department, university experts and fruit growers has been requested to be formed to waive farmers’ loans and fix the price of apples in the CA stores of private companies and to reserve 25 percent of the space. Farmers crops in CA stores to keep apples.