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Apple Growers in Himachal Duped of Rs. 80 Lakh, Govt Issues Guidelines for Horticulturists to Avoid Frauds

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Fraud with Himachal Apple Growers

Shimla-About 44 apple growers of Karsog region of Mandi district were allegedly duped by a dealer. These growers had sold the dealer 5000 boxes of apple approximately worth Rs 80 lakh during the months of July and August 2019.

It was revealed by Member of Legislative Assembly, Karsog Constituency, Hira Lal, in a letter to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

As per the MLA Hira Lal, a person named Parvaiz Ahmad Wagay, the owner of Sahil Fruit Company based in Singhanpura, Kulgaon, Kashmir, along with Kamal Singh of Village Bahli, Tehsil Kumarsain, Shimla, visited the Seri Bunglow, one of the area in MLA’s constituency, during the month of July-August, 2019.

Parvaij allegedly purchased packed apple boxes of approximately Rs 80 lakh from various growers of the area and gave them posted dated cheques as payments. These cheques were drawn on the HP State Cooperative Bank, Seri Bunglow, where Parvaij had opened an account recently, the MLA said in the letter.

“This person made purchases in the name of his firm without any challan and merely cheques were handed over to the growers, which was gross negligence on the part of my constituents,”

Hira Lal said.

“After taking almost 5000 packed boxes of apple, he suddenly disappeared from the area and switched off his mobile number. On the due date, when growers tried to encash the cheques, they bounced as the account lacked sufficient amount.”

he added.

An FIR has been filed at the Karsog Police station in this regard, he informed. However, he said, as the accused hails from Jammu and Kashmir, the local police would find it difficult to investigate the case. He urged the Chief Minister to form a Special Investigation Team comprising of high-rank police officials to nab the accused and recover the hard-earned money of growers from the accused.

The Additional Superintendent of Police, CID, confirmed the report and said about half-a-dozen of growers have approached him with a complaint of fraud by a Kashmiri dealer.
Following this case, the state government on Thursday issued guidelines to “prevent fraud against horticulturists/apple growers.”

The Guidelines Said:

  • Horticulturist must sell their apples to the registered/authorized dealers only and should ensure that the dealer is verified by the police.
  • The horticulturist should also check the authenticity of the license of the dealer.
  • For the transportation of the crop, the horticulturist should use vehicles of Registered Transport Union or Goods Transport Union.
  • The sales of the crop should take place through an online transaction.
  • If the dealer makes the payment through cheque, then the horticulturist must avoid post-dated cheque of long duration.
  • In case of failure in payment process by the dealer or cheque bounce, the horticulturist must immediately inform Secretary, APMC or Deputy Director Agriculture through a written complaint.

It’s not the first time that such case of fraud has appeared in Himachal Pradesh. A large number of cases are pending where dealers have not made payments to growers. Kisan Sangharsh Samiti had been raising this issue for several months now. With the help of the Samiti, some of the money was recovered after growers filed FIRs against dealers. Samiti had been alleging that inaction of APMC and the state government in checking entry of unregistered dealers or dealers with bad history into the market and allowing them to conduct business is encourging such cases.

The Agriculture Minister, Ramlal Markanda, in a statement to media a couple of days ago, had washed his hands of this responsibility by stating that he has no control over the APMC as it is not governed by the state government. He had further added that the markets of the entire state would come under the state government only after the APMC Bill 2019 is passed.

This statement of Markanda was questioned by MLA, Theog constituency, Rakesh Singh. Sinigha said that all the members of the APMC board are officials of the state government. Therefore, the state government can’t say that the board is not under its control. He had termed it a misleading statement.

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HP Statehood Day 2022: Relaxation in Electricity Charges, Third Option in New Pay scale, Higher Pay scale to Constables and other Announcements

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government, on the 52nd Statehood Day, has made several announcements. It announced 31 percent DA to employees, relaxation on electricity charges up to 60 units, enhancement of annual income for availing benefit of pensions and welfare schemes.

Benefits of higher scales would be provided immediately to all those constables who were eligible for higher scales. All the constables appointed after 2015 would be eligible for higher scale as per other categories of employees, the government announced.

The State Government announced that now while implementing the new pay scale, the employees would be given a third option besides two options already given to them. The State has recently implemented new pay scales for employees of the State Government. The state government said it felt that few disparities existed in the new pay scales of few categories.

Pensioners of the State Government would also be given pension as per the new pay scales of the Punjab government, the government announced.

The government also announced 31 per cent DA to all the employees of the State at par with the Central Government employees. Also, an increase in annual income for availing the benefits of various welfare schemes and pensions for the weaker sections of the society from existing Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 was announced.

Now, the domestic consumers of the state whose electricity consumption is up to 60 units per month would not be charged any fee per electricity unit.  They would be incurred zero cost per unit of electricity consumed. With this decision, domestic consumers whose electricity consumption is up to 125 units, would be charged only one rupee per unit cost.  Over 11 lakh domestic consumers would be benefitted from this decision and the State government would incur an additional expenditure of Rs 60 crore on providing this relief, the government informed.

For the farmers in the state, the government announced to reduce the present per unit cost of electricity from 50 paise to 30 paise.  This benefit will be payable from April 2022.

Further, the HP Government said that in the year 1971, the per capita income of the state was only Rs 651 which has increased to Rs. 1,83,286, the GDP of the State has gone up from Rs 223 crore in 1971 to Rs 1,56,522 crore. The literacy rate of the State has gone up to 82.80 percent which was 23 percent in 1971. The agricultural production in the state has increased from 954 metric tons to 1500 metric tons and food grain production in 1971 was 9.40 lakh MT which has increased to 16.74 lakh MT, the state government said.

The state-level function of 52nd Statehood Day was celebrated at historic Thodo ground in Solan, where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur unfurled the Tricolor and took salute from the contingents of Police, IRB Jungalberi, Home Guards and, NCC girls etc.

The parade was commanded by DSP Pranav Chauhan.

The Chief Minister also honoured three war widows of Solan District including Dil Kumari Thapa, Savitri Devi and Nirmala Devi on this occasion. Head constable Sandeep Chandel was also felicitated by the Chief Minister who has been awarded Prime Ministers Police Medal for life-saving for the year 2018.  

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Covid Restrictions in Himachal Extended Till Jan 31st, State Reports 11 Deaths in 24 Hours

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Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Covid-19 restrictions in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till January 31, 2022. Currently, the state is witnessing a sharp spike in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths. Today, despite a low sampling of 7896, the State reported 1766 new cases and 11 Covid-related deaths. During the last eight days,  the State has recorded over 50 deaths due to Covid-19.

The deceased included a 2-year-old female child too. Shimla district reported the highest five deaths. The Covid death toll in the state had risen to 3927 according to the latest update. But the State did not impose any new restrictions, like on the entry of visitors and curtailing capacity of public transport. Further, during the last 24 hours, Shimla, Solan, and Kangra districts reported more than 250 cases each. 

Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh extended

 A notification in this regard was issued by the Government of Himachal Pradesh (Revenue Department – Disaster Management Cell) on Monday. 

“Taking note of the present situation of Covid-19 in the State, the restrictions announced on January 5th, 8th, 9th, and 13th will continue to remain in effect till 6 am of 31st January 2022,” the notification said.

Programs scheduled on the occasion of Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day ( 25th January) and Republic Day (26th January) would be held on the condition of 50% capacity of indoor/outdoor spaces.

The educational institutes, including ITI, polytechnic colleges, and coaching institutes, would remain closed. Online classes, however, would continue in schools.

With the ongoing surge in daily cases and deaths, more restrictions could be in stock.

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Mandi Hooch Case: Political Storm Over Arrest and Expulsion of Hamirpur Congress Leader

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Hamipur district congress neeraj thakur

Mandi-On Sunday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee expelled General Secretary of the Hamirpur District Congress Committee following his arrest from Chandigarh in alleged connection with the Mandi hooch case.

It’s pertinent to mention that last week seven persons had lost their lives in two days and eight others are still hospitalized due to consumption of spurious liquor in Salapar area of Sundernagar Tehsil, Mandi district. Following this tragedy, a police SIT was formed, various places were raided, seizures of incriminating materials were made, several persons were arrested. So far, the police have arrested 13 persons in this connection and more arrests could be made as the SIT unfolds layers of people involved.

Neeraj Thakur, who was said to have risen to a political leader from a salesman at a liquor shop, had created an empire for himself allegedly from the illicit trade of spurious liquor. The worth of his properties and assets is being assessed, but the initial reports suggested his assets were disproportionate to his income. Now every political leader he was in contact with is under the scanner of the police SIT.

Also Read: Mandi Hooch Case: HP Police Claim Bursting Large-Scale Illicit Liquor Trade, Nabs Kingpin

According to Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Shalini Agnihotri, on Sunday, police detained Praveen Thakur, who is a resident of Hamirpur, two persons, identified as Sunny and Pushpender of Uttar Pradesh, AK Tripathi of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sagar Saini of Delhi. The police have claimed that it has also apprehended the kingpin.

The state Congress chief and the opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri who had been issuing statements holding the BJP government responsible for the Mandi hooch tragedy is on backfoot following the expulsion of Neeraj. At the same time, the failure of the state Excise and Taxation Department in checking this flourishing illicit trade of spurious liquor right under its nose is also evident.

State BJP general secretary Trilok Jamwal, State BJP spokesperson Baldev Tomar and co-media-in-charge Karan Nadda on Sunday issued statements referring to the expulsion of Neeraj as evidence that the Congress leaders were involved in, as well as, patron of liquor mafia in the State.

Further, with elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation and elections to the state Assembly later this year, this issue has turned into a political storm.  

According to the SIT investigation, the illicit liquor factory was operating in Hamirpur District and raw materials were procured from both within and outside the State. The police said that Gaurav Manhas appears to be the kingpin of the illegal trade. Gaurav, with the assistance of Praveen, Pushpender and Sunny from UP, was running this illegal bottling plant at Hamirpur building owned by Praveen.

In addition, the DGP informed, Manu and Gagan were his partners in the bottling plant busted under the jurisdiction of Police Station Nalagarh. Gaurav has a strong network of distributors and supply chains for raw materials and finished liquor.

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