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3532Fruit growers sore over high carton prices

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  • chandwani01
    Aug 8, 2011
      Fruit growers sore over high carton prices
      Rakesh Lohumi
      Tribune News Service

      Shimla, August 7
      The District Committee of the Himachal Kisan Sabha has expressed concern over the failure of the state government to regulate the prices of cartons and other packing material, thereby allowing a free hand to private manufacturers to fleece fruit growers. It has demanded immediate reduction in price of carton, failing which it will launch a stir.

      General secretary of the sabha Sanjay Chauhan said it was shocking that the apple cartons being supplied by the nodal government agencies like the HPMC were costlier than the open market price.

      The price of a carton had been at fixed at Rs 39 by the HPMC, whereas the best quality carton was available in the open market from Rs 34 to Rs 37. The government agency had thus allowed scope to the private manufacturers to sell cartons at higher rates, he said.

      He alleged that the government was functioning under the pressure of private manufacturers and it was not keen to regulate the prices of cartons and other packing material. Earlier, it had sold the state-owned carton factory at Gumma at a throwaway price, leaving the growers at the mercy of private manufacturers.

      He said there was a nexus between carton manufacturers and a few BJP supporters, who were acting like agents of the manufacturers. They were the same people who facilitated the sale of government-owned AIPIL carton plant at a throwaway price to benefit carton cartel. Now the high prices of cartons, despite steep fall of almost 50 per cent in the prices of paper - the main raw material for making corrugated cartons - clearly reflected the motives behind the government decision.

      The state government announced the release of Rs 50 crore to clear the arrears of fruit growers, whose fruit was procured under the Market Intervention Scheme, but it failed to make the payments and instead forced them to buy inputs and other materials at much higher prices through the HPMC and other agencies.

      The sabha demanded downward revision of prices of cartons and keeping in view the low production and heavy losses caused by natural calamities, the government should immediately release the payments amounting to Rs 30 crore due to the apple growers.