Shimla, July 4
Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) is enhancing the capacity of its three Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores and a few of these facilities will be ready for use this season. Besides, the HPMC is constructing three new CA stores in Reckong Peo (Kinnaur), Katlog (Mandi) and Rajpura (Chamba). “There will be an additional storage capacity of around 4,000 metric ton with the capacity enhancement at our stores in Gumma, Jarol Tikker and Rohru,” said HPMC general manager Hitesh Azad.
Concern over charges
- Apple growers have raised concerns over the charges HPMC impose vis-a-vis private CA stores
- While private CA stores in Himachal and outside the state charge around Rs 1.35 to Rs 1.50 per kg per month, the HPMC charges Rs 2 per kg per month, they say
- An apple grower says that the issue has been raised with the government officials. “We have been assured that the HPMC will rationalise these charges,” he said
- From the current capacity of the three CA stores ranging from 640 MT to 700 MT, the storage capacity in each of these CA stores will go up to around 2,000 MT
From the current capacity of these CA stores ranging from 640 MT to 700 MT, the storage capacity in each of three CA stores will go up to around 2,000 MT. “We are hoping that CA store at Rohru will be ready by September, and the other two a little later. These stores will turn out to be a great facility for the growers wanting to store their produce,” said Azad.
Incidentally, only 50 per cent of the total capacity is reserved for the apple growers. HPMC auctions half of the storage capacity by floating tenders to other stakeholders in the business to keep these stores financially viable.
While apple growers are happy with the development, a few have their concerns over the charges HPMC impose vis-a-vis private CA stores. “Private CA stores in Himachal and outside the state charge around Rs 1.35 to Rs 1.50 per kg per month. HPMC, however, charges Rs 2 per kg per month. It’s a significant difference, especially considering the fact that electricity in the state is much cheaper than, say, in Punjab,” said Deepak Singha, an apple grower.
“We had raised this issue in the growers’ meeting with the government officials a few days back. We have been assured that the HPMC will rationalise these charges,” he said. Besides, the HPMC is also upgrading grading and packing facilities. “The upgrade is complete at Oddi, Patlikuhal. At Rohru, too, the upgradation is more or less complete,” said Azad.
The other major infrastructure project undertaken by the HPMC is the processing plant at Parala fruit mandi. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.
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