Rain hampered apple market intervention scheme – Balnahta

Shimla: The BJP on Friday rubbished opposition charges of mis-management of apple harvest operations, particularly the market intervention scheme saying rain damages to road network and slumped market conditions was responsible for the losses incurred.

Khushi Ram Balnahta, BJP general secretary told the media that 5602 metric tons (about 90,000 bags) of apples rotted at purchase centers, mainly because of unprecedented rains having wrecked havoc to much of the rural road network in the apple producing areas.

Besides, he said, an unusually prolonged rainy season had left the apple crop in higher altitudes undersized, which did not fetch good prices in the fruit auction yards of many cities.

“The farmers sold most of their produce under the market intervention scheme, which the agencies were unable to lift on time because of a roadwork where most private transporters were reluctant to operate in,” said Balnahta.

He maintained that timely intervention of the government was able to minimize the damages.

Making a comparison of congress having handled apple harvest operations, he said that records showed that 1.80 lakhs bags were completely damaged in 1986, 1.53 lakh bags in 1988 and 1.62 bags in 1989, when the congress was in power.

Horticulture minister Narinder Bragta marched on foot through much of apple producing areas and made a damaged road network functional in less than ten days, which otherwise would have taken more that a month to restore, he said.

Only those people who drew middlemen benefits from the market intervention scheme and are backed by congress are making a hue and cry and pointing fingers at us, he concluded.

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