Apples in Himachal Pradesh to be sold by weight, not by boxes; govt threatens to cancel licences of dissenting agents

Amidst allegations of confusion over purchase of apples, the state government on Saturday clarified that the purchase would be made by weight and in case of violation by commission agents, action would be taken.

Clarifying the status on apple-selling, Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi sent a stern message saying he would again hold talks with the agents and give them time to abide by the April 5 notification or else initiate action as per law.

Negi, flanked by Education Minister Rohit Thakur and Rampur MLA Nand Lal, said the decision to ensure sale of apple by weight is in the interest of the growers. "We will cancel the licences of those who do not buy apple by weight. Also, we will give licences to commission agents from outside the state to deal in apple purchase," Negi said.

He urged the commission agents to abide by the government decision of apple sale by weight. "We want to end the monopoly in apple trade and open doors for outside agents so that the inertests of the apple-growers are protected," he said.

The Sukhu government has come in for severe criticism for failing to tackle the situation on apple sale. The commission agents had threatened to go on strike and not lift apple if they are not sold in boxes.

Rohit Thakur, who represents Jubbal-Kotkhai, the largest apple-growing belt in the region, said the agents who, too, were growers must understand the situation. "The apple boxes at times weigh over 35 kg and it is to stop this that now all apple sale and purchase will be made by weight," said Thakur.

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