Talking to a delegation of fruit growers here today, Irrigation, Public Health and Horticulture Minister, Smt. Vidya Stokes said that fruit growers had suffered a loss of about 300 crore due to heavy snowfall during last few days. Besides, a loss of around Rs. One crore had been assessed in Chamba district alone. She said that the State would urge the Central Government for financial assistance to provide relief to the affected fruit growers.Smt. Vidya Stokes said that State Government would bring a bill during the coming budget session to ensure use of Standard Universal Carton so that fruit growers could get better remuneration for their produce and could compete in the international market, adding that the private entrepreneurs would be encouraged to establish carton manufacturing units in the State.Horticulture Minister said that State would take up the matter regarding increase in import duty on apples with the GoI. She said that State government was committed for the welfare of apple growers and steps would be taken to bring this crop under special category.Smt Stokes clarified that adequate measures would be adopted to benefit the farmers and fruit growers of the State through centrally assisted Parala Subzi Mandi in Thoeg area of Shimla district. She said that farmers and fruit growers would also be taken into confidence and consulted for giving practical shape to the on-going project so as to benefit everyone of them. She said that some important measures were ignored by the previous government. She said that though the previous government declared the construction of Parala Subzi Mandi but no serious efforts were undertaken during the tenure.
She said that the government would initiate efforts to complete the first phase of the project at the earliest. She said that before taking any measures for construction and implementation of any project in the State for the benefit of the farming community, she would like to consult them before so as to provide them all the concerned benefits.Smt. Vidya Stokes said that the previous government without considering the technical aspects had installed anti-hail guns in the limited areas. Now, the government was considering on providing anti-hail nets to the fruit growers for which they would be given 80 to 90 percent subsidy besides adopting measures regarding fruit persification.