In the review meeting for the preparations for ensuing apple season, Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta said that Standard Universal Carton would be used for packing apples in the coming season in the state. HPMC, HIMFED and KINFED would provide these cartons to the growers as per their demand. 5.89 lac MT apple production was expected this year for which 2.65 crore cartons would be required. He said that adequate number of trucks and packaging material would be made available to the growers besides maintaining the roads.
Horticulture Minister directed the concerned departments to maintain the main and link roads and to provide better transportation and packaging facilities to the growers. He said that 26 Km. stretch of 80 Km. long Theog-Hatkoti road had been identified for maintenance. Moreover, Public Works Department had identified 40 spots on this stretch and culvert, cross drainage and maintenance work was being ensured. He directed the department to complete this work before the start of apple season and asked them to stop the cutting work for widening the road so that traffic was not hampered. He said that patch work had been completed on National Highway No. 22. He also directed the PWD to maintain the road on the identified spot near Sheelgaon on Rajgarh road besides completing the work at Gaura-Mashnu in Rampur, from Chaura to Wangtu and Theog bypass.
He said that about 5.30 lac MT apple cartons was likely to be marketed to various markets outside the State during this year for which around 5890 trucks would be arranged. Besides, 2.65 crore cartons and 16 lakh bundle tray would be required and HPMC, HIMFED and KINFED along with private companies would make these available to the growers. He said that growers can also use left out telescopic cartons but their weight should not exceed 20 Kgs. He said that 48 marketing yards had been established to facilitate the growers and Kharapathar fruit market would be started soon. Besides, Parala Mandi would also provide facility to the growers from this season.
Narinder Bragta directed the concerned Deputy Commissioners to convene meetings regarding arrangements for apple season. V.C. Pharka, Principal Secretary, Horticulture said that the department was fully geared up for the apple season. Dr. Arun Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Sonam Negi, Chief Engineer, National Highways, Dr. Gurdev Singh, Director Horticulture, concerned SDMs and senior officers of various departments attended the meeting.