Tribune News Service
Parala (Shimla), July 24
The Rs 10-crore apple marketing complex at Parala faces closure. Only four out of 50 arhtiyas have come for apple trading this season. The reason is that even after four years, the state government has failed to provide essential banking, lodging, security and water facilities to farmers.
Traders from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat have come for apple purchase this time. They told The Tribune that they had to travel to Shimla for banking services.
There is not even a single bank branch here, let alone security and accommodation, they added.
“The APMC has not installed CCTV cameras. There are no check posts to keep a track of cartons and trucks coming to and going out of the the complex,” the farmers said.
“There is no bank here. How does one transact money?” asked Anup Kumar, a commission agent.
“We have met IPH Minister Mahender Thakur, who directed the engineers to provide water supply last week. Traders feel insecure as there is no police security here,” the traders said.
“Last year, most shops were auctioned. But this time, only four arhtiyas have come here for apple trade. The market yard’s fate is uncertain. In the last two years, not even a single minister has inspected the complex,” the farmers said.
Under the World Bank-funded Rs 1,143-crore horticulture project, the government had talked of setting up a cold store and a processing unit having a capacity of 10 tonnes here, but nothing of the sort has happened so far.
Dhalli Arhtiyas Association president NS Chaudhary said the four arhtiyas had shifted from Dhalli to Parala. “Instead of running designated mandis properly, the Agriculture Department and the APMC have given licences to the arhtiyas, who are running private mandis on rooftops of private buildings on the Theog-Narkanda-Rampur highway,” he added.
The Agriculture Department has spent Rs 10 crore to construct the market yard on 107 bighas to provide marketing facilities to farmers.
“The Parala market yard provides parking, loading and unloading facilities to 100 trucks at a time, which no mandi in the state provides,” said the traders.
It is accessible to the farmers from Jubbal-Kotkhai, Theog, Chopal and Rohru, the main apple producing region of the state.
Managing director, state agriculture marketing board which oversees APMCs in the state, Dr RK Kaundal said he had sought a detailed report from the APMC, Shimla, on the Parala mandi. “We will take necessary measures so that traders and farmers get all facilities,” he added.
No bank near market yard
- Traders from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat have come for apple purchase this time.
- As there is no bank in Parala, they have to travel to Shimla for banking services.
- The APMC has not installed CCTV cameras. There are no check posts to keep a track of cartons and trucks coming to and going out of the the complex.
Arhtiyas at advantage
}Instead of running designated mandis properly, the Agriculture Department and the APMC have given licences to the arhtiyas, who are running private mandis on rooftops of private buildings on the Theog-Narkanda-Rampur highway. —NS Chaudhary, president, dhalli arhtiyas association
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