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Committed to safeguard interests of horticulturists: Himachal CM

Shimla : The government is committed to safeguard the interests of the farmers and horticulturists by providing ample facilities of marketing, cold storage and controlled atmosphere stores to give boost to economy, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Friday.

Addressing BJP workers a day after the Sanyukt Kisan Manch, an umbrella front of various associations, announced to gherao three Adani Group-owned controlled atmosphere stores on August 25, the Chief Minister said the government was reimbursing six per cent subsidy on purchase of packaging material like cartons and trays, whether purchased through H.P. Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) or open market, from April 1.

He said the horticulturists would have to produce Goods and Service Tax (GST) paid bill of cartons and trays, sale proof and Aadhaar-linked bank account details to get the subsidy.

This would provide a big relief to the horticulturalists of the state, said the Chief Minister.

Thakur said late Narendra Bragta, former horticulture minister, was not only one of the tallest leaders of the BJP in the region, but was also committed to safeguard the interests of the horticulturists.

He said Bragta not only fought for the rights of the farmers, but also had laid stress on diversification and value addition of the horticulture produce.

He said with the void created by the demise of Bragta, several leaders had been trying to become so called benefactors of the horticulturists.

The Chief Minister said the state government has released all the pending payments of the apple growers. The government has not only provided much needed relief in GST to the horticulturists, but has also enhanced the procurement price of apple under the Market Intervention Scheme by Rs 3.50 per kg.

“The previous government had enhanced the procurement price by only Rs 1.50 per kg during their tenure,” said Thakur. He also accused the previous governments for ignoring the interests of the horticulturists.

Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, while remembering the contribution of Bragta particularly in the field of horticulture development and promotion, said that Bragta had always worked towards betterment of the horticulturists.

BJP leader Chetan Bragta, while thanking the Chief Minister for providing six per cent GST reimbursement facilities to the farmers on packaging material, said the Chief Minister has always remained considerate towards demands of the apple growing areas.

Chetan, a prominent apple grower, is the son of late Bragta.

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