In an effort to support the orchardists in the apple belts of the state, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at facilitating apple growers and ensuring a smooth transportation process for their produce.
“The State Government is focusing on road clearance in apple growing areas to facilitate growers and ensure smooth transportation of their produce aiding in timely delivery of their harvest, especially after some roads were adversely affected by the recent monsoon fury. Restoration works are being undertaken on war footing to repair the damaged roads promptly”, said Sh. Sukhu.
The Chief Minister revealed these measures in a meeting with the Arthiya Association here late Thursday evening. He said that the state government remained steadfast in its stance against any attempts to exploit apple growers.
To improve transportation infrastructure, the State Government was prioritizing the strengthening of the Chhaila to Yashwant Nagar road, via Neri Bridge and a project with an outlay of Rs. 70 crore has been prepared under Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) and a proposal has been submitted in this regard, said the Chief Minister. The primary goal of this endeavour was to alleviate any transportation hindrances faced by the orchardists during the apple season, he added.
The Chief Minister said that to enhance post-harvest storage facilities, the government mulls to establish Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores in key locations across the State. These CA stores will be set up at Bhawanagar (Kinnaur), Sandasu (Chirgaon), Anu (Jubbal), Chopal (Shimla), Jabli (Solan), Sundernagar (Mandi), Duttnagar (Rampur Bushehar) and Kharapathar (Shimla). Moreover, efforts are being made to construct another CA store on State Government land at Kundli border in Delhi thereby bolstering the storage capacity and accessibility for apple growers.
The State Government was considering to establish a distillery to ensure that apple growers can benefit from their produce even when facing challenges such as rotten apples. This initiative aims to utilize apples that may not meet the market’s fresh produce standards, turning them into valuable resources and contributing to the growers’ income, he said.
The Arthiya Association, after the Chief Minister’s intervention, has agreed to weigh or purchase apples based on the older system, accommodating the convenience of the growers. The association expressed its full cooperation with the State Government in their shared commitment to supporting the apple-growing community.
MLA Sudarshan Singh Babloo, OSD to the Chief Minister Gopal Sharma and Ritesh Kapret along with other dignitaries were present on the occasion.