Himachal apple growers adamant, to gherao Secretariat on August 5 : The Tribune India

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Himachal apple growers adamant, to gherao Secretariat on August 5

Say just announcements made, nothing done on the ground

Himachal apple growers adamant, to gherao Secretariat on August 5

Sanyukt Kisan Manch members address mediapersons in Shimla on Tuesday. TRIBUNE Photo: Lalit Kumar



Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 2

Himachal apple growers will go ahead with their August 5 gherao of the Secretariat despite the government accepting a few major demands raised by them.

“These are merely announcements made by the government, nothing has changed so far on the ground. Besides, the other demands in our 20-point demand charter are equally important,” said Sanjay Chauhan, co-convener of the Sanyukt Kisan Manch, under which several apple associations have come together to raise apple-related issued before the government.

Growers’ grouse

The mechanism announced by the government for the reimbursement of the 6 per cent GST subsidy to the farmers is cumbersome. Harish Chauhan, SKM Convener

Following the meeting of the representatives of the apple growers with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 28, a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary RD Dhiman was formed to look into the grievances of the growers. Over the last couple of days, the committee has issued orders to discontinue DBT subsidy scheme on pesticide and restore the old one, and extend 6 per cent GST subsidy to all on cartons and trays.

Nonetheless, the growers are not convinced. “The committee formed to look into our issues does not have our representative, which we had demanded during the meeting,” said SKM convenor Harish Chauhan. “Besides, the mechanism announced by the government for reimbursing the 6 per cent GST subsidy to the farmers is cumbersome. The growers are required to give an undertaking, fill an application form, provide GST bill, sale proof, bank details, etc., to avail the subsidy. Small and marginal growers would not claim the meagre subsidy amount due to the complex procedure,” said Chauhan.

Incidentally, cumbersome paperwork and meagre subsidy amount was the major reason why apple growers rejected the DBT scheme on pesticide subsidy. “Instead of making lakhs of growers collect all these documents and rush to their nearest Horticulture office for reimbursement, why the government doesn’t reimburse the amount to carton and tray suppliers on the basis of e-way GST bill,” suggested Sanjay Chauhan.

Not convinced by the government’s gesture, the growers have taken a tough stance and are readying themselves for a “decisive fight” on August 5 and beyond if required. “The government took apple growers lightly when we were quietly working in our fields and submitting our demands. Now, we are ready for a decisive fight. And if need arises, we are ready for even the Delhi like protest by the farmers,” said Chauhan.

Steps govt initiated

  • A committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary RD Dhiman was formed to look into the grievances of the growers
  • It has issued orders to discontinue DBT subsidy scheme on pesticide and restore the old one, and extend 6 per cent GST subsidy to all on cartons and trays

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