Mandi, August 25
Apple and vegetable crop of farmers of Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti has started to rot in loaded vehicles, which were stuck in Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti for the last three days due to blockade of roads from Mandi towards Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti. The farmers of both the districts are feeling helpless in this adverse situation. These crops are their sole source of livelihood.
Spelt doom for us
Rains have spell doom for us. Our annual source of income is vegetable crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and other exotic vegetables, which need time-bound transportation. Due to blockade of roads we are unable to transport our vegetable produce to market.
Mohan Lal Relingpa, Lahaul farmer
Prem Dasi, a resident of Chimret panchayat in Lahaul and Spiti, said, “Due to blockade of roads, our vegetable produce is rotting in the loaded vehicles as well as on the agricultural land. Loaded vehicles are stuck midway for the last three days due to blockade of the Chandigarh-Manali highway and two other alternative roads between Mandi and Kullu. Vegetable produce needs time bound supply to the market otherwise it perishes quickly.”
Mohan Lal Relingpa, another farmer of Lahaul valley, lamented, “Rain disaster has spell doom for us. Due to blockade of roads we are unable to transport our vegetable produce to the market in time. Crops are ready for harvesting, which are decaying in the agricultural land.”
Manu Sharma, an apple grower of Manali, said, “There is strong resentment against the Public Works Department and National Highways Authority of India for the sluggish pace of restoration work of roads. The delay in restoration work of the Chandigarh-Manali highway and two other alternative routes is proving disastrous for the farmers of this region. Apple season is in full swing in Kullu-Manali because the apple crop is ready for harvesting. Without road connectivity we are in utter distress.”
“Due to blockade of roads to Kullu-Manali and Lahaul and Spiti, the essential supply material has been exhausted in both the districts. The area residents were facing scarcity of cooking gas, daily need products, petrol, diesel, edible oil and construction material,” he said.
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