Healthy punch, Himachal may dish out apples in schools hospitals

Subhash Rajta

Shimla, June 29

The Himachal Government is considering the inclusion of apple in mid-day meals in schools and anganwadis and in meals served to patients in hospitals. Mahender Singh, Horticulture Minister, said, "We are expecting a higher yield this time. The availability of this nutritious fruit will benefit both students and patients. We are also thinking of making the fruit available in small packing of 2-6 kg for sale at hotels. This will not only help the growers, but also benefit the tourists as they will get good quality fruit at reasonable prices. We will talk to the hoteliers in this regard soon."

The government must make arrangements for procurement and distribution of apple. Lokender Bisht, Growers Assn

Apple growers feel it is a good step, if it goes beyond a mere announcement. Lokender Bisht, president, Progressive Growers Association, said, "It's a welcome move, but only if implemented. Apart from schools and hospitals, the government can also tie up with the Railways and hotels outside the state as well. Also, the plan will only look realistic when the modalities for procurement and distribution of the fruit are revealed."

The minister said the processing unit at Parala would be made functional before July 31. He said, "This will ensure that much of the apple procured through the market intervention scheme and taken to Parwanoo be used up at Parala itself. We are also in discussion with carton manufacturers. It will be ensured the prices of packaging material are not hiked arbitrarily." Mahender Singh said because of the higher yield, the size of apple would be smaller than usual. "But the agencies will ensure that the growers do not face problems in marketing their produce," he said.

Higher yield expected

  • State is expecting a higher apple yield this season
  • Govt wants to make fruit available to students and patients
  • It is in talks with hoteliers for sale of apple on their premises
  • Growers welcome move, want govt to list procurement norms
Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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