Monday, August 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pear trees being uprooted following distress sale
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Patti (Amritsar), August 24
The pear trees, grown in this border town before partition, are being uprooted following distress sale of the produce. Consequently, many growers have decided to go back to the traditional paddy-wheat rotation even as the state government has been crying hoarse to encourage diversification.

Patti subdivision is a pear-rich area. Out of the total 43,000 tonnes annual production of pears in the state, Amritsar district produces more than 26,000 tonnes, Patti being the major contributor. Interestingly, the ‘patharnaakh, as pears are known in the region, grown in Patti subdivision are quite famous in the country and are also exported to other countries. However, the growers have suffered loss to the tune of crores of rupees on account of distress sale.

During a tour of the Patti subdivision, TNS team found that many persons, who had taken the pear gardens on contract, had fled due to huge losses they suffered on account of distress sale. This had resulted in non-payment of wages to the labour who had been facing hardships.

Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, a pear grower who owns more than 40 acres in Patti town, said that he had suffered huge losses this year. He said he had got uprooted many pear trees from his fields as there was no taker for the ‘patharnaakh’ (pears) in these days. As a result many growers or contractors had decided not to pluck the fruit. The un-plucked fruit was rotting and the growers were being forced to bury the fruit by digging deep pits in gardens to avoid spread of any disease.

Mr Kanwalbir Singh, Mr Mandip Singh and Mr Harjinder Singh — all pear growers, said that the state government should immediately come forward to their rescue by setting up agro-based processing units in the region.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, growers, including Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, alleged that they were being exploited by commission agents in New Delhi who charged hefty commission from them on the sale of pears in gross violation of the instructions, issued by Government of India. They said as per the guidelines of the Central Government, the commission should be charged from the buyers and not from the sellers.

The contractors, including Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Amar Singh and Mr Jagdish said that the state government should give proper compensation to them as they had suffered huge losses this season.

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